Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)

France's Ministry of Health has warned swimmers to be vigilant this summer with its interactive guide to water cleanliness across the country's beaches and rivers.

Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
A beach at Argeles-sur-Mer, on the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: AFP
The Health Ministry has urged the French to be informed this summer before taking to the water. 
It updated its interactive map based on the data of each regional health agency, noting that the spots have been inspected at least once per month by the local authorities. 
“Knowing the quality of bathing water, whether saltwater or freshwater, is one way of preventing risks to bathers’ health,” it said.
It added that  regular monitoring made it possible to asses the effects of wastewater sanitation and dirty rainwater runoff into the country's swimming sites. 
The information, the ministry added, lets your know the closest beach to you at which you can swim safely.
The site, which is also available in English, allows users to simply select their département of choice and then zoom in on the beaches or river spots of interest. 
The swimming holes are then ranked in a series of colours from excellent (blue) all the way through to pink, where swimming is prohibited. 
The Riviera, see below, is thankfully almost all blue. 
Last year's statistics found that of France's roughly 3,500 swimming spots, 91 percent were classed as “excellent” or “good”. This is slightly below the EU average of 96.1 percent. 
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