Swimming in the Seine is a promise French politicians keep making to Parisians, and never keep.
Thirty years after the former French president Jacques Chirac vowed the Seine would become clean enough to swim in under his tenure – and failed -, Paris City Hall has revealed the five places in Paris where the first outdoor public swimming pools on the Seine are to be built.
This time, will it really happen?
Today, the river's filthy waters aren't much cleaner but the pressure is on: the French capital has just over 5 years before hosting the 2024 summer Olympic games, and some of the trials including the open water triathlon and free swim will take place in the French capital's river.
So these swimming pools will be purpose built for the summer Games and then be transformed into free outdoor swimming pools open to everyone.
On Thursday, the Mairie de Paris announced the location of these pools, which it has selected from a choice of nine possible swimming spots along the Seine.
The pools will look much like the outdoor swimming pool at the Bassin de la Villette canal in north eastern Paris which opens every summer, just next to The Local Paris office and which has been tried and tested by The Local's Paris bureau chief.
Only one pool, by the Trocadéro in the city's 16th arrondissement, is set to open to the public in 2024. All the others are due to be ready by 2025 or after, according to BFMTV.
The plans are part of a much wider project to open a total of 26 bathing spots in the long term in the wider Paris area.
“The swimming pools may open progressively and some of them may become accessible to Parisians after the set date,” BFMTV explained.
“This is because the quality of the water must be good enough to allow the pools to open. The criteria for swimming pools used for the Olympic games are not nearly as stringent as those required for a public pool.”
To clean the water and build the pools, the region has set aside a whopping budget of between 1.2 and 1.4 billion euros.
This is where the five outdoor pools on the Seine are set to be located:
Source: BFM Paris
- 16th arrondissement: this swimming pool is planned to be the first one to open, in 2024, just below the massive Trocadéro building on the river's right bank, opposite the Eiffel Tower.
- 12th arrondissement southeast of Paris, between the Pont de Bercy and the bridge named 'passerelle Simone de Beauvoir'.
- 4th arrondissement between the Pont Notre Dame and the Pont au Change, near the city centre and Notre Dame cathedral.
- 1er arrondissment, near the Louvre museum between the Pont Neuf and the Pont des Arts.
- 16th arrondissement, in the west of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne park by the pont de Suresne.