Every summer, Paris Beaches - Paris Plages - pop up along the banks of the Seine River and other locations, transforming them with palm trees, beach chairs and umbrellas, and even three large swimming pools.
All activities are free - and you'll find a lot to choose from, including lots of things to do in Paris with kids: swimming pools (new in 2017!), water sports, games, concerts, basketball, dancing, pedal boats, art exhibits, tai-chi classes, ziplines, plus a lot more!
Paris Plages spans a two-month period from early July through early September and includes three major locations and two neighborhood spots, each with its own theme and activities.
Take a look at our guide to fun things to do at each Paris Plages location.
In the past, thousands of tons of sand were trucked in for the event each year, only to be removed a month later when the areas reverted back to traffic-filled highways.
Now that the whole area is a park, grass and trees replace the sand as a more environmentally-friendly, "greener" approach.
On the Right Bank, the beach focuses on tranquility and enjoying the sun. Even if you have just a few minutes to spare, relax in a chair or recliner while time slows down a bit.
If you have a little more time, stop by one of the pop-up bars and buy a glass of wine. Find a comfortable place to sit, and gaze across the water atone of the best views in Paris.
Closest Metro stations to Right Bank beaches: Pont Neuf, Pont Marie, Sully-Morland
The Left Bank beach, formerly called Berges des Seine, is where to go for games, activities, art displays, lively restaurants, and dancing by the water.
You'll find many kids activities here as well, plus wide paths for running, biking, and skateboarding.
The Left Bank beach also provides plenty of spots to relax with a book or a picnic.
Hungry? Try the lively pop-up restaurants offering casual food, wine, and beer at outdoor tables - or look for Rosa Bonheur, a floating restaurant on a barge near the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Modeled after a guinguette - 18th century outdoor bars featuring cheap wine, food, music, and dancing, Rosa Bonheur serves up excellent pizza cooked on the terrace in the world's 8th largest wood-fired pizza oven, and of course, music and dancing.
Concerts by mostly local groups take place on a waterfront stage.
Closest Metro stations to Left Bank beaches: Invalides, Assemblée Nationale
Closest RER: Pont d l'Alma, Invalides, Gare du Musée d'Orsay
Paris Plages converts the spacious courtyard in front of Hôtel de Ville into a sports-oriented venue for volleyball, basketball, runners, and other athletics.
Games go on almost non-stop - you're likely to see several underway anytime you walk by. These are pick-up games, so feel free to join in - you will be welcome!
Also look for special displays and art to celebrate the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
For three days during July, the courtyard transforms into a concert stage for free live non-stop performances by about 30+ artists sponsored by Fnac, the large electronics store. Check our July Events Calendar for exact dates.
Bassin de la Villette, a broad expanse of water about half a mile long connecting Canal Saint-Martin with Ourcq Canal in the 19th arrondissement, boasts three large Paris Plages swimming pools floating within the canal itself.
Each pool has a different water depth to accommodate children, people with reduced mobility, and swimmers of all abilities.
With free admission and plenty of lifeguards, showers, and changing rooms, the pools are a huge hit on hot summer days.
Even more important, they showcase the city's delivery on its promise to clean up formerly-filthy urban waterways to be safe for public swimming.
Will swimming in the Seine be next? Rumors say yes, in just another year or two . . . so stay tuned for the next exciting development of Paris Plages!
Elsewhere around the Bassin, you'll find plenty of other waterfront activities offered free of charge - pedal boats, ziplines, sailboats, canoes, and various activities and workshops. Instructors on hand throughout the day and evening help you have a fun and safe experience.
Plenty of waterfront cafes line the beach, so plan to reward yourself after your water sport adventure.
In addition to the beach recreation area, there's a lot more for you to explore near Bassin de la Villette. The area around Saint Martin Canal, one of Paris's newly trendy hot spots, practically overflows with interesting boutiques, galleries, pop-up stores, and hip bars and bistros serving up excellent food. You'll usually see lots of colorful street art on the neighborhoods walls.
Just beyond the Bassin is the expansive Parc de la Villette, home to one of Paris's best science museums, Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, with lots of interactive hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. The new Paris concert hall, Philharmonie de Paris, is here as well.
Closest Metro to Bassin de la Villette: Juarès
For a scenic view of the Canal Saint-Martin and Bassin de Villette, hop on one of these fun cruises:
Paris Plages also takes place for 3-4 weeks between early July and early August at two Paris neighborhood sports centers, the Elisabeth Sports Complex in the 14th arrondissement (7 Avenue Paul Appell, Metro: Porte d'Orleans) and Louis Lumière Sports Stadium in the 20th (30 rue Louis Lumière; Metro: Porte de Montreuil).
Both are in residential neighborhoods fairly far from the central part of Paris, and attract mostly local Parisians.
Beach fun centers around the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, games, and numerous sporting, cultural, and recreational activities - all free of charge