Mayor Anne Hidalgo inspecting the recently-unveiled Bassin d'Austerlitz, Source: Anne Hidalgo / Facebook

Paris mayor will take a dip in the Seine before start of Olympics

Paris mayor will take a dip in the Seine before start of Olympics

Anne Hidalgo had promised earlier to be one of the first swimmers in the river in order to show that it can be used for recreation

More than 30 years ago, French President Jacques Chirac declared that he would “bathe in the Seine in front of witnesses”. He didn’t get to fulfil his wish, but it now looks like it will be up to another politician to perform that task. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, promised to take a dip in the city river before the Olympic Games begin and now it seems increasingly likely that she will have to keep her word at the end of June.

Two possible dates have been announced as the days when the momentous occasion would take place, either 23 or 30 June. The reason for having two possible dates is in case the first one does not work due to unfavourable atmospheric conditions then the next one would be the backup.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo is preparing for the event

Mayor Hidalgo visited an exhibition earlier this week and took some time to tell the journalists there that she has been busy training and preparing for the unusual event.

I didn’t train in the Seine but in the swimming pool,” she confided, as quoted by 20 Minutes. She added that she would show off her crawl swimming technique.

Apparently, Anne Hidalgo won’t be the only mayor present at the event. She indicated that the mayors of Athens and Tirana would also be present, although it wasn’t clear if they too planned to swim.

The return of open water swimming in the Seine will happen 101 years after it was banned by a prefectural decree. Now, the hosting of the Olympic Games has served as a great accelerator to a long-standing dream of many Parisian residents and officials to make the river clean enough for swimming again.

For this purpose, more than 1.4 billion euros have been invested in the project since 2016. The grand presentation of the clean river will be the open water swimming event, which will take place during the Olympic Games (26 July – 11 August).



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