“ Get thee to the Seine”
That’s what I always tell first timers to Paris. Get yourself on a boat and travel through the middle of Paris on the Seine.
Do I follow my own advice? Yep. No matter how much time I have in the City of Light I like to enjoy some time on the river that winds through this marvelous city. It’s my “go to” place to feel like I’m really there.
The Seine has been the center of life in Paris for all of its existence. In fact, the first sign of life in the area was on the island now called Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine.
You know it today because both Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle are located on the island. The rest of the old Paris was torn down in the 1800s during the big Urban Renewal.
For a Zen moment in a busy city, Sainte Chapelle is a great place to go to a concert. Read this blog post to get details.
Tossed by the waves, but refuses to sink
Interestingly the symbol of Paris is a boat. You’ll see it on the coat of arms, government buildings, schools and stamps. The symbol comes with the motto “flvctvat nec mergitvre.” Translated it says “Tossed by the waves but refuses to sink.
Take the Batobus to get around
You can enjoy the Seine in many ways. For example, take the Batobus to get around. For a flat fee daily you can ride up and down the river, hopping on and off at one of the eight major tourist destinations. Always fun. The last time I did this we had an interesting conversation with a lady from Belgium and her French friend. I actually got a follow up email from one of them later.
People do enjoy photographing the scenery as skim along the water. For more about the Batobus, click here.
Do know there are a wide variety of boat tours from the big ones with lots of folks jammed together to small private tours and even dining opportunities.
I never tire of the perspective of the major Paris hotspots from a boat.
It’s also fun to spy on people enjoying themselves. They don’t call Paris the City of Love for nothing.
Life along the Seine
People pose and preen along the Seine and on the bridges—all thirty-seven of them. That’s another blog post. The bridges have interesting histories.
Seeing a flock of swans reminded me of a story about Louis XIV, the Sun King. He imported wildly expensive and inappropriate swans and installed them in the polluted river in the 1600s . He and his court paraded up and down the river looking at them in their outlandish finery, imparting an aura of glamor. It was truly the beginning of branding Paris as the fashionable place to be. The guy was a genius at image creation.