Parisians who have to spend their summer in the city still can stroll on the sand and relax under palm trees in lounge chairs. A nearly two-mile stretch of road along the Seine...

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PARIS — Parisians who have to spend their summer in the city still can stroll on the sand and relax under palm trees in lounge chairs.

A nearly two-mile stretch of road along the Seine River has been closed to traffic and transformed into a sandy shore and a haven for walkers, bicyclists and skaters.

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Against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, people can picnic, swing in hammocks, play volley ball, take tai chi lessons or splash in fountains — all for free.

About 3,000 tons of sand were brought in for the temporary beach in late July. It remains open until Aug. 17.

The beach, now in its second year, is part of Mayor Bertrand Delanoe’s effort to make Paris more livable.

Although some drivers griped about traffic being cut off, the beach drew more than 2.3 million visitors in 2002.

“Paris is a dense city,” said Jean-Christophe Choblet, the beach’s designer. “You have to create a space big and substantial enough as a getaway place. That’s really important.”

This year, the project is expanding. There will be three times as much sand and twice as much beach. There will also be more beach umbrellas and blue-and-white beach cabins.

The project cost $1.7 million but includes contributions of nearly $900,000 from private sponsors.

Missing are the sea and its endless horizon. And there’s no swimming: It’s forbidden in the murky Seine, which is crisscrossed by tourist boats and barges.