— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) 25 juli 2017
Many cities attempted it, but Paris actually did it after years of promises. Last week Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo opened up the floating open-air swimming ‘pools’ in the Bassin de la Villette, located where the Canal de l’Ourcq is linked with the Canal Saint-Martin. The pools were meant for safe public swimming for people who cannot afford a trip to the beach, and Hidalgo thus called it:
“a dream come true.”
With temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius, the Parisians stood in line for a fresh dip, but they were in for an unpleasant surprise due to the poor water quality. It forced the City of Paris to tweet out that all three pools on the Canal de l’Ourcq were to be closed due to that “unsatisfactory” water quality, and that it would remain closed until the situation returned to normal. The reason for the pollution was not clear, but a French radio station reported that heavy rainfall over the weekend had led to higher than normal levels of enterococci, a bacteria found in faecal matter.
So now the pools are closed, but Paris won’t give up. Since 1980 it invested heavily to clean their dirty waterways, and the Canal Saint Martin, which runs downstream from the basin down to the Seine, was drained and cleaned entirely in 2016. Paris is set to remain on target to open up the Seine for public swimming by 2024, the year Paris hopes to host the Summer Olympics. Let’s just hope it won’t rain around that time.