Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Swimming in the canal - not with the fishes or Speedos...or Inspector Maigret

Special Paris swimming pools opened today and the waiting crowds, including lots of kids, couldn't wait to take a dip on the opening day of the outdoor swimming pool in the Paris canal. The plan to introduce free swimming at the Bassin de la Villette finally happened.  The Bassin de la Villette was inaugurated in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte and was a former port area during the industrialisation of rivers. Now excited Parisians escaped the hot sun by making their inaugural dips into the three brand new swimming pools. These structures have been built into the Bassin, along the south side of the Quai de la Loire in the 19th arrondissement -  which connects to the Canal de l'Ourcq with the Canal Saint-Martin.
Ah, the Canal Saint Martin which reminded me of George Simenon's Inspector Maigret. Maigret had a case in the Canal and it wasn't pretty. Strike you as morbid that came to mind? Alors, we're crime writers and readers here, non?
The title translates to Maigret and the Corpse without a Head. In this story, a man’s dismembered body is found in Canal Saint Martin. Close to the scene, Maigret meets the taciturn owner of a cafe,
Aline Calas, and wonders if the body in the canal was that of her husband. As usual, Maigret’s instincts are correct.
Compelled to run the investigation further but with time on his hands as he’s already solved the case, Maigret starts digging into the past of everyone who is concerned. Unlike most detective fiction where finding the solution is central to the story, his novel explores the different motives that can lead to committing a crime.
Here lies a rationale of self-hatred behind the actions whereby you can hurt and mortify those who are closest to you. Simenon, through Maigret, attempts to figure out real meanings and ambitions, believing that understanding can lead to forgiveness and forgiveness will reduce the drive to commit a crime.

But getting back to the swimming pools - was the canal water that feeds them clean enough for the kids and swimmers?  Lina, aged 11 said, "I'm not worried. I've seen the signs saying they have checked the water is clean off so I am confident." Lina's mother said: "If the Town Hall says the water is OK then I am OK with that. It's hot outside and we need to keep cool, especially the children."
The temporary structure includes a very shallow paddling pool for young children, a second shallow pool and a large pool for adults. On top of that, the tight Speedos, required for most public Parisian pools, aren't required.
"It's a natural swimming experience, without chemical or biological treatment," the Town Hall promises. The pools are filled with "water from the canal itself", said Jean-François Martins who works on the team responsible for the city's facilities.
A filter has also been put in place to stop any pesky leaves, rubbish and fish from entering the canal.
And corpses?
Cara - Tuesday


  1. What a grand idea! And on top of it all. removing the tight Speedos. Leave it to the French.

  2. I'm afraid I'll be in over my head if I jump into the deep end of this post and ask, "If the tight Speedos aren't required, does that mean they're all just floating around unfettered?" Good God, keep Trump away from Paris! (And more importantly, keep him away from everywhere else, too...)

  3. EvKa I'm not sure but the kids pool is more my Speed��‍♀️

  4. Better sans Speedos than sans heads, I say. And sans Trump would be best of all.