Discuss as:

The pleasures and frustrations of summer in Paris and London

Situated just a couple of hundred miles apart, the great cities of Paris and London have long savored a rivalry built on their historic differences. One thing they share, though, is summer weather which might charitably be described as changeable.

On Thursday, gray skies and mediocre temperatures greeted the launch of two ventures conjured up with rather better conditions in mind. In Paris, the pleasures of the urban beach, and in London, the chance to mess about in boats on the roof of a famed Oxford Street department store. As a resident of London, I'm just hoping that there will be better days to come before the summer is out.  

Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images

Event curators Harry Parr, left, and Sam Bompas sit in paddle boats in the Truvia Voyage of Discovery installation on the roof of Selfridges department store in London, England, on July 21. Selfridges is opening its roof to the public for only the second time since WWII to host the installation, which includes a boating lake with dyed water and bar.

Forecast for London, Thursday. Highs of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. 30% chance of rain.

Eric Gaillard / Reuters

A child lies on a beach mattress as "Paris Plages" (Paris Beaches) opens along the banks of the Seine river in Paris, France on July 21. Paris Plages, the yearly transformation of a section of the Seine river into a man-made beach, opened today for its 10th anniversary and will run from July 21 to August 21 with the aim of bringing the beach atmosphere to the French capital.

Forecast for Paris, Thursday. Highs of 69 degrees Fahrenheit. 60% chance of rain.