Paris to reopen Seine for public swimming after century-long ban

Swim events will also take place in river at next year's Olympics

The Seine in Paris will reopen to swimmers, as well as host Olympic events. AFP
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Parisians and tourists will soon be able to swim in the Seine river for the first time in more than 100 years.

A swimming ban introduced in 1923 due to poor water quality, will be lifted in 2025, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced.

Ms Hidalgo unveiled three sites that will open to the public, including one near the Eiffel Tower.

The city administration confirmed the river's water quality had now been certified as “sufficient” or “excellent” during dry weather, after significant investments had been made to improve it.

About €1.4 billion ($1.54 billion) has been spent to modernise sewage treatment plants and connect 23,000 apartments and 260 houseboats to the sewage system that previously discharged untreated waste into the Seine.

The reopening is a significant boost for Paris's 2024 Olympic Games preparation.

Swimming competitions will take place in the Seine, marking the first time since the early 1900s that the river has been used for such events.

The Seine's inclusion as a venue represents a return to the roots of the Games when swimmers took to the river for the first Olympic swimming events in 1900.

“This is a long-cherished dream and it is well on its way to finally becoming a reality,” the city announced. “Safe bathing in the Seine will be possible.”

With less than a year to go until the Olympics, organisers are confident of the Seine's readiness to host events.

Since June 1, almost 70 per cent of the readings have been “good” or “excellent,” according to the City of Paris.

“Bathing in the Seine is a long-standing dream that we want to turn into a major legacy of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Ms Hidalgo.

Updated: July 10, 2023, 12:07 PM