NPR

Locals Escape Summer's Heat With A Dip In A Parisian Canal

"It's nice to float on your back to see the architecture and the urban space around," says French journalist Julie Pacaud. "It's another way to experience the city."
The Paris municipality opened the Canal De L'Ourcq to swimmers this summer. Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to open three pools on the Seine River by 2024, when the city is scheduled to host the Olympics. Source: Joanna Kakissis

It's a hot summer day, and 8-year-old Zak Ballenger and his 5-year-old sister, Alison, are doing something they've never done in Paris.

They're diving into the cold, murky waters of a city canal.

"I like splashing around," Zak says, "because it's hot outside."

His mom, Celina Ballenger, is a 38-year-old nurse. She says she couldn't afford a vacation this year.

"So we've come here because we can't go

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