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Paris: Get Thee to the Seine

Paris--Seine
Paris–Seine

“ 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.

Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame Paris
Sainte Chapelle Paris
Sainte Chapelle Paris
Sainte Chapelle Paris
Sainte Chapelle Paris

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.

Paris
Paris Coat of Arms

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.

Batobus Paris
Batobus Paris
Riding the Batobus, Paris
Riding the Batobus, Paris

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.

Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine
Tour boat on the Seine

I never tire of the perspective of the major Paris hotspots from a boat.

Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine –Department store renovation

It’s also fun to spy on people enjoying themselves. They don’t call Paris the City of Love for nothing.

Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Seen from the Seine
Paris--the Seine
Paris–the Seine

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.

Paris Bridges
Paris Bridges
Paris Bridges
Paris Bridges

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.

Paris--The Seine
Paris–The Seine
Paris--The Seine
Paris–The Seine–end of the day.
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

4 Comments
  1. posted by
    Julie
    Jan 22, 2018 Reply

    Great poet thanks Susan- I confess that I nearly always ignore the Seine,but am going there this summer for short couple days – will take in Saint Chapelle and Seine!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 22, 2018 Reply

      Oh for sure, go to a concert at the Sainte Chapelle and then plan a quiet dinner afterwards. It’s a lovely experience. If they have two concerts, go to the one that occurs when the sun is setting so you can see the windows in bright light and experience the space as the light dims. Also I do love the Batobus. Have done a couple of dinner cruises which are fun especially if you get in the bow of the boat, but riding the Batobus to get from one end of Paris to the other is great fun.

  2. posted by
    Steve
    Jan 22, 2018 Reply

    You are spot on Susan! Like you, we never miss an opportunity to take a boat trip on the Seine for the very reasons you outlined, no matter how many times we come to Paris. It’s like going to d’ Orsay or the Louvre — there’s always something new to see. . .

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 23, 2018 Reply

      Thanks, Steve, I appreciate your comment especially since I know you lived in Paris.

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