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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Paris Plage

Parisians can now sunbathe at the world famous Copacabana beach without even leaving the capital.

City authorities have poured some 1,500 tonnes of sand on the banks of the Seine to create 2 km of Brazilian beach.

Tourists, children and office workers can relax under palm trees in hammocks and deckchairs, taking a break in spots named "Ipanema," "Maracana" and "Copacabana" to get a flavour of Rio de Janeiro.

"It's not like a real Brazilian beach, but it's nice," 22-year-old Brazilian samba dancer Tatiane Silva said, after she and her dance team opened the "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach) on Thursday.

Until the end of August, children can swim in a small pool by the river or take climbing lessons, while their parents relax along the bank. It is the fifth annual manmade beach in the city.

"It's fantastic, even for adults," said 23-year-old teacher Elizabeth Love, who came with a friend from Canada. "Other cities should invest money in such initiatives," said Charles Wang, a doctor from the United States.

The first artificial city beach was set up in Paris in 2001, attracting more than 2 million visitors. Temporary beaches have also been set up in cities such as Tokyo, Berlin, Budapest, Rome, Brussels and Amsterdam in the past few years.


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