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Coupe de Noël (Paris)

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La Coupe de Noël (Paris) was an open water swimming race that was held annually every 25 December from 1906 to 1940. It course crosses the Seine from one bank to the other that attracted a large crowd.

The Coupe de Noël was reserved for amateur swimmers. Organized by S.N.E.N. (National Society of Swimming Encouragement) with the assistance of the newspaper L'Auto from 1920, the event was created in 1906 by the founding president of the SNEN, Georges Moëbs, who remained the irremovable Commissioner-General until in 1938.

Anxious to promote the practice of swimming and to popularize the cold water rescue, Moëbs is inspired by the English example of the "Peter Pan Cup" of the Serpentine Swimming Club of London, disputed on the Serpentine Lake in London since 1864, as well as Italian tests of "Rari-Nantes" 1.

The name of the race comes from its date as well as from the trophy awarded to the winner of the event. It is initially the Cup Dubonnet Challenge, whose patron is the industrial Émile Dubonnet then, from 1913, a luxurious vase of Sèvres offered in the name of the President of the Republic2. Other less valuable prizes are also distributed, including the City Council of Paris. From 1927, the Georges Moëbs Cup also rewards the swimming club having the two highest ranking members at the end of the event3.

32 editions of the Paris Christmas Cup took place in total. Its annual periodicity was interrupted from 1914 to 1916 because of the First World War, before resuming in 1917. The Second World War puts an end to this Parisian meeting of swimming, whose last race is in 1940 .

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