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I am visiting Paris.

In the accommodation given to me, I was told I can drink tap water. I was drinking from sometime. Few days back I boiled the water. A layer formed on surface of the water, when I tried to remove it, I can see a white powered type content.

The base of the steel utensil in which I boiled the water also has a layer of some white substance.

Is it normal?enter image description here

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    It's common for water to contain dissolved materials which do not evaporate. The white substance is probably mostly calcium carbonate - also known as limescale. (Assuming that veseel is dry. If there is still water in there that is weirder - some kind of sdeiment?
    – CMaster
    May 18, 2023 at 9:47
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    I’m voting to close this question because it does not appear to be travel related
    – CMaster
    May 18, 2023 at 9:48
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    @CMaster I don’t understand what do you mean it is not travel related.. I am visiting here and I want to ask if this would create any issue while I am still here… May 18, 2023 at 9:52
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    Just because something happens while you're traveling doesn't necessarily make it a travel question
    – Berend
    May 18, 2023 at 10:08
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    @Berend: This a very common issue that most people encounter specifically when travelling — judging tap water quality in unfamiliar settings — so it seems pretty reasonably on-topic.
    – PLL
    May 18, 2023 at 19:38

4 Answers 4

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Paris water is very hard, which means that there is a lot of particles and mineral content in the water

What you see is a buildup of minerals and limescale, this is destined to happen when you boil hard water.

It is normal and not harmful in any way. Tap water is definitely very drinkable in Paris (I drink tap water myself as a local)

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    Often referred as limescale, which builds up in devices, such as when you use tap water to iron your clothing for example. Edit: But someone already mentioned it in the comment section of the question.
    – Clockwork
    May 18, 2023 at 18:22
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    @fraxinus Do you mean mineral water?
    – Clockwork
    May 18, 2023 at 18:40
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    No. I mean hard water - the one that comes from limestone wells or springs.
    – fraxinus
    May 18, 2023 at 18:53
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    I wouldn't say hard water has a lot of "particles" - Paris will filter the water to remove those. What it has, is a lot of (mainly) calcium carbonate dissolved in it. May 19, 2023 at 7:25
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    I would say that Paris water is moderately hard. It's noticeable but I have seen harder water elsewhere in France. Mineral content is highest in the centre of Paris and the ARS calls it “moyennement calcaire” Wikipedia has a map where Paris is orange (“très dure”) but the threshold is 30ºf and Paris tap water is just under that limit.
    – Relaxed
    May 19, 2023 at 15:11
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As already answered, this is hard water mineral deposits. Perfectly normal in many areas. While you encountered this first in your travels, in some areas you have soft water and hard water in the same city, depending on the local water sources.

The important thing is to not try to scrape it off. The solution (literally) is acid. I use white vinegar, but there are many other things you can use. Put a little vinegar in the pot, heat it up for a few minutes and your problem will be (dis)solved with no scrubbing.

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In the accommodation given to me, I was told I can drink tap water.

Tap water is France's most controlled aliment. You can check its parameters on an interactive map (which, in the French tradition, does not work at this moment when I tried to look up today's values for Paris 😐)

EDIT: I found another (better) source specifically for Paris: https://qualite.eaudeparis.fr/. You can check where the water in your exact location comes from and the latest results (done several times per day or even per hour, but the results published on the site are a bit dated ("March 2023" for a check on 2023-05-21)

Bonus information (unrelated to the question): the site also has a list of water points in Paris at https://fontaine.eaudeparis.fr/

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  • Thank you. It said "L'adresse sélectionnée est desservie par l'unité de distribution CENTRE L’Unité de Distribution (UDI) CENTRE est alimentée par les sources du Loing et de la Voulzie traitées aux usines de Longueville et de Sorques et acheminée via l’aqueduc du Loing jusqu’au réservoir Montsouris." May 21, 2023 at 9:11
  • Translation says "The selected address is served by the CENTER distribution unit The CENTER Distribution Unit (UDI) is supplied by the Loing and Voulzie springs treated at the Longueville and Sorques plants and routed via the Loing aqueduct to the Montsouris reservoir." May 21, 2023 at 9:11
  • @PraphullaKoushik: you then need to click on the left popup on "Consulter le dernier rapport de contrôle sanitaire" which then gives you the detailed analysis. The rightmost column shows the number of times the norm was not met (should be 0)
    – WoJ
    May 21, 2023 at 10:00
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I wouldn't suggest you to drink tap water as a precaution. A recent study has shown that it has a concentration of pesticide over 8 times the allowed regulated amount for a few years. Though there is no immediate consequence, this particular kind of pesticide is proved to be cancerous.

So if I were you, I wouldn't drink Paris tap water (I myself live near Paris), but there are no immediate consequences, it's just a risk, it's up to you if you're willing to take the risk

Edit: Ok since some people want sources here you go, I didn't want to include any because it's in french OBVIOUSLY, so good luck : https://www.anses.fr/fr/system/files/LABORATOIRE2022AST0255Ra.pdf

Don't just start downvoting when you don't know and you're probably not even french, it is widely known and even been on the news a few weeks ago.

-> Ce rapport révèle en effet l’existence de métabolites de Chlorothalonil dans l'eau courante de nos robinets. Il s’agit de résidus d'un pesticide pourtant interdit depuis 2019.

TLDR; This report reveals the existance of particles of "Chlorothalonil" in our tap water. They are residues of a pesticide forbidden since 2019.

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    This answer would be a lot more compelling if it cited a reputable source/link.
    – ceejayoz
    May 19, 2023 at 17:46
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    This is not a low quality answer, so no need to flag it as such. It may well be a wrong answer, no need to flag for that. Vote down or ask for further information.
    – Willeke
    May 20, 2023 at 7:48
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    Considering the environmental impact of drinking bottled water and their dubious health benefits (do you really think no plastic leaches into water over its storage???), I would think that pushing unsourced health scares is rather off topic. Lived in Paris 10 years, was A-OK with drinking its water from tap. More info about plastics @ ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9103198 May 20, 2023 at 17:25
  • Read my updated post
    – NiWAY
    May 20, 2023 at 18:58
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    The source is interesting, but I don't see any specific reference to the water in Paris. While valid, I don't see that any of the concerns raised in this answer specifically answer the question about residue from boiling water. As to know which is more harmful, of bottled water in general vs tap water, this answer only provides data about one side, and doesn't consider any of the risks associated with drinking bottle water. (Unless you were suggesting to stop drinking water altogether?)
    – njzk2
    May 21, 2023 at 11:42

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