Seine Swim: Arthur Germain’s Epic Challenge

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Seine Swim: Arthur Germain’s Epic Challenge
“Arthur Germain, teen son of Paris mayor swims English Channel,” screamed the headline of The Times on July 26th, 2018. Now age 19, Germain is planning an awfully big aquatic adventure. He’ll swim the Seine, from Source-Seine, northwest of Dijon in Burgundy, to the Port of Le Havre – that’s 780km (485 miles)! “Swimming the Channel took nine hours- my new challenge will take 52 days,” he tells me. He’s been a dedicated swimmer since he was three-years-old. “In 2018, I took part in several open-water races in France, finishing second cadet in the 25km of the French Championships and that same year I became the youngest Frenchman to swim the English Channel,” he says. After his bold swimming experiences in the polluted waters of Dakar and the Seine, Germain became passionate about sharing his respect for water and nature with the world at large. Arthur Germain. “At the beginning of 2020, I set myself a new challenge, the culmination of years testing my resistance in extreme conditions. For the last eight months I’ve been studying nature, learning how to survive in forests, preparing myself physically and mentally. I’ve taken several three-day kayak outings along the Seine- one trip was on the coldest day of the year. It was -7 ° on the outskirts of Troyes,” he recalls. Impressive! So, how does a confirmed vegetarian, who weighs 62 kilos, train for this extreme marathon? By swimming 10km twice daily in the eco-friendly Piscine Elizabeth, situated at Porte d’Orléans in the 14th. “I’ll be pulling a kayak, containing my equipment, including my survival kit, making it more difficult to swim, so I’m testing it in the pool.” River rafting. Photo credit © Arthur Germain “I lose too much weight and am gluten intolerant,” he admits. However, with advice from naturopath Marie Sicot, Germain’s diet is based around red and white beans, lentils, rice, cereals and seasonal fruits. “I always eat fruit at the beginning of a meal, it’s better for the digestion,” he says. In Paris he recommends SOYA Cantine Bio, a chic urban space in the 11th arrondissement.
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Lead photo credit : courtesy of Arthur Germain

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !