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Paris opens parks 24h a day so locals can cool off

The Local · 3 Jul 2015, 17:36

Published: 03 Jul 2015 17:36 GMT+02:00

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Poor Parisians have been suffering under scorching temperatures in recent days but officials have moved to ease their pain.

On Friday the Town Hall in Paris announced it had agreed to keep open five large parks from Friday to Monday after France's Green party pushed for the move.

City residents can head to the parks Buttes-Chaumont, Martin-Luther-King, Montsouris, André Citroën, and Monceau to cool off at night after being pummelled by the heat wave.
"It's very good news," David Belliard, a French Green party councillor, told Le Parisien newspaper. 
"This is a very simple measure, with a very reasonable cost compared to the benefits. You just have to look at the number of impromptu picnics throughout the capital, to realize that Parisians like to linger outside at night, especially during heat waves," he added.
In addition to the five parks, 127 other smaller parks and gardens are already kept open round the clock, giving residents plenty of choice to pick a spot to cool off.
But for some city dwellers a park open at night is not enough.
Some brave or foolhardy locals, depending on your point of view, have found a more radical way to stave off the heat - by jumping into the city's canals.
Their new spot for an outdoor swim appears to be, the Bassin De La Villette, which links the Canal St Martin and Canal de l'Ourcq.
The video below from Le Bonbon website shows bathers plunging into the water from the bridge and leisurely drinking a beer or two in inflated floats.
"All day, my colleagues tried to dissuade me from doing this, saying it was disgusting," said 22-year-old Gaelle with a smile as she prepared to dive into the water. 
She shrugged off suggestions about the pollution. "This is not much more polluted than the sea."
Story continues below…
Although swimming in such places is prohibited by the city, the ban did little to stop residents desperate to cool off. 
Still others have turned to legislation to give residents some respite from the heat.
Leftist French MP Jean-Jacques Candelier proposed to put in place "a right to leave" work once the mercury passes 35C.
His proposal, which will gain undoubted public support, is set to be debated in Parliament next week. 
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