"A world of slime without human form": that was how Victor Hugo once described the Seine, the murky, polluted river that divides Paris in two. Yet recent efforts to clean up the river, from skimming the surface to pumping it with oxygen, have led to a resurgent fish population swimming through the French capital. You can even catch a salmon in the middle of town if you're lucky, though the Times of London says eating it might not be the best idea.
Anglers standing opposite Notre Dame cathedral cast for bream, trout, and even catfish—none of which are consumed—but a giant 15.5-pound salmon, caught downstream last year, was an especially promising sign. Researchers say that the pink fish indicates a healthy environment. Still, the picturesque Seine is full of pesticides, lead, and bacteria, certainly unfit for humans. Riverside bathers are warned not to go in the river, and those who do are taken to the hospital before they're hauled off by police.