Gumbo apologizes, but it was not possible to resist the pun about the possibly mad plan of Mayor Anne Hidalgo's son, Arthur Germain, to swim the nearly 500-mile length of the Seine, towing a kayak with his supplies for the 52-day swim.
Germain, 20, was the youngest ever to swim the English Channel when he was 16, so he's no novice at open-water swimming; in fact, he's been doing it since he was 4. But the Seine is a real challenge: no one has ever completed an independent swim of its length, which he plans to do in 15km segments.
One obstacle is the still-polluted stretch of the river through and beyond Paris; cleaning up the river for swimming has been a city goal since Jacques Chirac was mayor in the 1980s, and is still a goal today under Hidalgo, although some progress has been made and the city believes open-water events in the river will be possible for the 2024 Olympics.
Germain, who works with the French GoodPlanet Foundation, hopes the swim will focus attention on the environment and sustainability. He will be followed during the swim by a doctor and a documentary film crew; the swim starts on June 6.