Save the date: Macron says he'll swim in the River Seine as he inspects Paris' new Olympic village

French President Emmanuel Macron boldly promised to swim in the River Seine being cleaned up for the Paris Olympics as he toured the new complex that will house athletes on Thursday.

Macron cited pollution-reduction in the Seine as one of the Games' positive long-term impacts. He noted “extraordinary” public-funded investments being poured into making the river — largely off limits to bathers since 1923 — swimmable again.

Asked by a journalist whether he would bathe in it, Macron replied, “Me, yes, I'll go."

But he refrained from saying when.

“I'm not going to give you the date: There's a risk you'll be there,” he said.

Regardless of whether he does indeed don trunks, Macron's visit to the future high-security Olympic village served to highlight how the Paris Games are helping to transform some disadvantaged neighborhoods in the French capital's poorer suburbs.

The eco-friendly village led to nearly 2,000 jobs being created, with 1,136 going to local residents. It cost about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), most of it investment by property developers but also including 646 million euros ($700 million) from public funds. The Olympic construction company, Solideo, transferred the village to Paris Games organizers on Thursday, symbolically handing over a large key, with Macron watching.

“It's a very big day,” Macron said. “It's a demonstration that France is a nation of builders.”

In a city repeatedly hit by deadly extremist attacks, security is the biggest challenge for organizers as they ready Paris for the July 26-Aug. 11 Games and Aug. 28-Sept. 8 Paralympics.

“Obviously, it's been an obsession since the beginning.” Macron said. “We have a colossal amount of work being done in advance."


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