Paris mayor dreams of seeing athletes swim in the Seine

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Wednesday the city's 2024 Olympic bid envisaged a huge clean-up of the Seine river which she hopes would allow athletes to swim beneath the Eiffel Tower.

Paris mayor dreams of seeing athletes swim in the Seine
Photo: AFP

“We propose that the triathlon event (swimming, cycling and running) take place around this spectacular location, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in the Seine,” Hidalgo told a senate committee.

“And to do that we will have to go further in cleaning up the water,” added Hidalgo, who has repeatedly insisted swimming in the Seine will be possible by 2024.

The Paris mayor is in the process of pedestrianising the main road alongside the Seine and is pushing a raft of projects refocusing city life around what she believes is an under-used asset.

“It would need to be a project to make it possible (to swim in the Seine) permanently and not only for the Games,” she told the committee.

Paris, along with Rome, Budapest and Los Angeles, is bidding to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

The winning candidate will be announced in September 2017.

Rome's bid was dealt a potentially fatal blow on Wednesday after the city's mayor said she would not give her formal backing.

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IN PICTURES: Seine floods in Paris as France faces further storms

The River Seine has overflowed after days of torrential rain, with more forecast in the coming days and flood warnings still in place for large parts of France.

IN PICTURES: Seine floods in Paris as France faces further storms
All photos: AFP

French weather forecaster Météo France has flood warnings in place for 21 départements, largely concentrated in the south west and north east of the country.

Days of torrential rain falling onto already saturated land have seen localised flooding around the country.

In Paris the River Seine has overflowed its banks, spilling onto the quais which are normally walkways, cycle tracks and home to pop-up bars and coffee stalls.


Water began lapping over the banks of the river on Sunday and on Monday the city of Paris closed large parts of the river banks to access.

By Tuesday the quais were flooded and Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning brought further heavy rain.


Météo France's weather warnings remain in place until Thursday and people in affected areas are warning to stay away from the flood waters after  a 70-year-old man died in the northern region of Hauts-de-France after he went out to watch the river Sambre and was caught off guard by the rising water, according to French media.