Is that really a beached whale beneath Paris' Notre Dame?

Members of a Belgian artists' collective pours water on a real-looking, life-size whale sculpture displayed along the Seine River in Paris. (Michel Euler, AP)
Members of a Belgian artists' collective pours water on a real-looking, life-size whale sculpture displayed along the Seine River in Paris. (Michel Euler, AP)

Paris - A sperm whale appears to have beached on an embankment in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Or maybe not.

A Belgian artists' collective installed a very real-looking, life-size whale sculptureon  Friday alongside the Seine River, eliciting surprise and concern from tourists and Parisians alike.

Bart Van Peel, a member of the collective, said the installation is about raising environmental awareness and awakening "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not".

Kim Landman from New York was among those taken aback, especially after Van Peel spun a tale describing how the whale got stuck under a city bridge.

Parisian Charles Jean was immediately sceptical, asking whether the whale had climbed onto the quay with a ladder.

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