A century after they were banned from swimming in the Seine because it was too polluted, Parisians are preparing to plunge into its waters again.
From 2025, public swimming is to be permitted at locations across the French capital, it was announced this week. It follows extensive (and expensive) efforts to clean up the waterway, which was closed to swimmers in 1923.
It’s all part of mayor Anne Hidalgo’s ambitious plans for the capital, which include turning car parking spaces into cycle lanes.
Skeptics are mindful that Jaques Chirac made a similar promise about the Seine in 1990, when he was mayor. However, Hidalgo has put her money where her mouth is by committing €1bn (£879m) to transform the river.
It’s not just swimmers that are returning to the Seine. As water quality has improved, marine life is reported to have bounced back, including salmon, eels and catfish.