The first time we visited Strasbourg, way back in 2004, we stumbled across Baggersee beach and, along with many other things here, we listed it as yet another good reason to move to Strasbourg. So move we did.

Baggersee Plage is a well hidden, white sandy beach set beside a small lake not far from Central Strasbourg. Easily accessible by tram, it is free to use, a short walk from the Auchan hypermarket at Ilkirch, and therefore, understandably, a popular destination during hot weather.

Contrary to popular belief, the water is crystal clear and clean enough to support the hundreds of little fish that swim in the shallows (and that have thus far refused to nibble at my toes whenever I go for a paddle). During the summer season there is a permanent lifeguard, a beach patrol, a café, open-air showers (v. cold), volleyball nets and plenty of space to spread out.

So although Strasbourg might be as far from the seaside as you can get, just about everything you get at the coast is here. Except of course for waves and the endless horizon.

But there are alternatives if you find Baggersee too crowded for your liking. There is a lido in Wacken (but you have to pay), a public beach at Lac Achard in Ilkirch (but it’s next to the motorway) and a naturist beach in Robertsau Forest (but you have to take all your clothes off).