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Paris Plages: Why you should get down to the beach

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Paris Plages: Why you should get down to the beach
All photos: AFP
14:50 CEST+02:00
It's time for the 15th edition of the Paris Plages - when the French capital turns into a beach for the summer. Here are the best reasons to head down to the water.
Wednesday sees the launch of the 2016 Paris Plages, which for the first time will run all the way until September 4th (at least down by Seine).
 
Essentially, the event will see 3,500 tonnes of sand dumped along the banks of the River Seine and the Bassin de la Villette, attracting families and beach goers eager to enjoy the sunshine.
 
The concept has proved a hit elsewhere following its 2002 launch in Paris, with cities like Berlin and Madrid hosting similar festivals. 
 
 
The Paris event will be somewhat different to previous years in that visitors will have to pass through security checks to get in, a safety measure put in place after 84 people were killed in the Nice attack last week.
 
But don't let the extra security put you off. We've looked through the schedule and it looks bigger and better than ever before.

Here's why you should get down there.  
 
Live music festival: It will be an exceptional setting for a music show - the big stage of the City Hall court. There will even be a second stage inside for more intimate concerts. The shows run from July 20th to July 23rd, from 5pm to 12pm. Check the line-up here.
 
Zip-line: Parisian daredevils looking for a new thrill can fly across the Bassin de la Villette on a zip-line. It's open from 1-8pm everyday, but it's only for 6-17-year-olds. Find it on the Quai de la Seine side of the Bassin de la Villette. 
 
Table football (foosball): Both at the River Seine and at the Bassin de la Villette they're bringing in the foosball this year, or as the French call it, le baby foot. It's free, it's fun for all ages, and they're even offering big five-a-side tables for those looking for a serious challenge.
 
(Photo: AFP)
 
Tai-Chi: Ever wanted to get a taste of Tai-Chi but didn't know where to start? Now's your chance. At the Voie George Pompidou in the central Paris part of the beach you can enjoy daily courses from 10am to midday. There's no prior booking needed, and the classes are free. What are you waiting for?
 
The banks of the Seine: Click the map above for a larger version. 
 
Dance classes: The theme is "guinguette" - a kind of old Parisian cabaret drinking spot, with Zumba classes, tropical or latino dances all available choices. If you’re feeling footloose, then head down Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 8pm. Sunday afternoons are reserved for kids from 3pm to 5pm.
 
Your own boat: Here’s your chance to hit the murky waters of the Bassin de la Villette lake. Every day from 1-8pm there will be pedal boats, rowing boats and even games of kayak polo available for those who’d like to join in. There’s no charge to use the boats, which you can pick up on the Quai de la Loire side of the water. Be warned, the programme advises would-be sailors that this is a popular event. Expect a wait. 
 
 
Beach volleyball: Not every activity in Paris Plages is directly by the waterside. Paris is also offering sports up by the Town Hall too, including four beach volleyball courts. The courts will be open from July 28th to August 16th, everyday from 1pm-8pm.
 
 
Maritime museum: The Musée National de la Marine is offering a bunch of activities with a maritime theme up at the Bassin de la Villette. The activities are for young and old alike, and you can even try your hand at a giant battleship. It runs 2pm-6pm from Monday to Friday, 10am-12pm and 2pm-6pm on weekends.
 
The map of the Bassin de la Villette. Click for a larger version. 
 
Neptune's Realm from the Louvre. The famed Louvre msueum is offering pieces from the Neptune's Realm exhibition for the public to see. "Dive into the mysteries of the sea and discover the creatures and heroes who live deep into the ocean," the Town Hall writes. It runs everyday from 10am to 6.30pm (until 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays) at the Tunnel des Tuileries.
 
(Photo: AFP)

Tai-Chi

Ever wanted to get a taste of Tai-Chi but didn't know where to start? Now's your chance. At the Voie George Pompidou in the central Paris part of the beach you can enjoy daily courses from 10am to midday. There's no prior booking needed, and the classes are free. What are you waiting for?

Want to know more? Here is the entire programme (in French)

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