Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Have we talked about how ridiculous the French sometimes are (I mean this nicely so please don't yell at me)? Well, if not, we should now. Sometimes they do silly things like build over-the-top ornate opera houses while their citizens are starving or have balls at fire stations (which admittedly sounds pretty cool). But then they do this thing called the Paris Plage.
This is when the government decides that what the people of Paris really need in the summer months (the rainy and cold and perfect-for-running summer months) is a beach. I am not kidding, they cart sand in and create a beach on the cobblestone shores of the Seine. There are little striped changing huts like you might see in an E Nesbit book (the one about mermaids) and lounge chairs. There is a sand castle made by the Disneyland Paris folks, and ice cream and bocce and all sorts of beach things.
I grew up in Boston, near enough to the water so that we would go to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea every summer (at least once) and to Plum Island even in the winter when the beach was frozen (that's a story for another time). I love the beach - bracing water and sand that burns your toes. When we were in cloudy Finistère we rolled up our trousers and waded into the North Atlantic waves. But for me at least, the beach doesn't make much sense without the water - or at least, without water you can run into. And it seems to me that the idea of the Paris Plage is at least a little bit ridiculous. What do you think?
(photo of a poster (by I think Sempé - it at least looks like his style) from here)