PARIS - Sand, palm trees, bikinis. Parisians can get their tropical fix without ever leaving the French capital.

"Paris Beach" has opened for action for the ninth year, with more than a ton of recycled sand poured on the quays of the Seine River. It was launched Tuesday and welcomes visitors until Aug. 20.

Parisian Isabelle Bonin says the 2.5-mile stretch of artificial beach is "a different way to discover Paris."

Soyeon-Kim, a South Korean who has lived in Paris for a year, had thought a beach squeezed into the city center would be "weird." But now, she says, "I see it's beautiful."

The event was started in 2002 by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. It is aimed at giving those who can't leave town a touch of summer fun.