It has been announced that members of the public are invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette, located in the 19th arrondissement, this summer. Swimming in the artificial lake has, up until now, been prohibited due to health concerns considering the lack of lifeguards and the cleanliness of the water.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, announced on Twitter that after comprehensive tests the water has been cleared as safe to swim– though we wouldn’t recommend drinking it. This is, after all, the same water that fills the Canal St Martin where last year’s draining and dredging revealed an array of strange objects including scooters and car doors.
The project will see three pools built into the side of the Bassin, each with different dimensions to suit swimmers of different ages and abilities. There will be a shallow option for kids as well as an adult sized pool with a depth of four baguettes stood head to toe. The baguettes will be sealed in protective plastic sheaths to prevent sogginess affecting the accuracy of this measuring method, though the Mayor has also suggested “they might just make the pool 2 metres deep, which is roughly the same.”
The outdoor swimming pools come as a welcome development for Parisians who have long participated in an annual exodus out of the capital during the summer months due to the inevitable heat and uncomfortable stickiness.
The newly implemented pools come at a time when Paris hopes to secure its bid for the 2024 Olympics, and mayor Hidalgo has suggested that the Bassin de la Villette could be used for the swimming leg of triathlon events.
The pools are open to the public from the 15th of June and will stay open all summer.
Lead photo credit : photo: Lionel Allorge
By Theo Gittens
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