Why are Parisians planning to poop in the Seine?

The French capital’s river may be getting even dirtier if a new protest goes ahead

Written by
George Phillips
Contributing Writer
Seine River in Paris
Photograph: Shutterstock

The French are famously good at protesting – and it looks like they might be staging a more, er, unusual protest in Paris this summer.

Locals are clearly not too pleased about the government’s €1.4 billion scheme to clean up the River Seine for the 2024 Olympics. In fact, the French are so unhappy with this plan that they’re threatening to defecate into the iconic river. 

Officials are intending to use the Seine for the Olympics, with triathlon and open-water swimming events planned to take place in the river. However, there are widespread concerns that the river is not safe to swim in due to contaminated water. Recent tests have found that samples of water from the Seine still contain E.coli.

Swimming in the Seine has been illegal since 1923, though it seems things are changing with French President, Emmanuel Macron, and Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, promising to dive in before the Games this summer.

News that their President will be taking a dip in the Seine has prompted the French to devise a plan to protest against what they see as wasteful spending on the cleaning scheme. The #JeChieDansLaSeineLe23Juin hashtag, which translates to ‘I poop in the Seine on June 23’, has been trending on social media. If it goes ahead, protestors plan to defecate in the river before the politicians and Olympians venture in. 

It’s fair to say the sentiment of locals towards the upcoming Olympic Games is mixed. Many Parisians are planning to leave the city, and news last year that the Seine’s famous bouquinistes will have to temporarily shut was not well received (though that decision has since been reversed).

Who’d have thought taking a dip in the river could be so dung-erous?

Did you see that France is launching a mega-cheap rail pass next month?

Plus: You can book a place at this Paris art gallery to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony

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