The Seine, Paris, France
Like many of the big European cities, Paris has two sides to it. In the smaller streets, through the quiet neighbourhoods and the suburban cafes, is the real city where the residents live and work.
It’s a functioning metropolis where daily life revolves around the usual, where alarms in the morning get people out of bed, buses and trains get them to work, supermarkets fill their cupboards and bars provide some relaxation.
The other city is for the tourists. You’ve seen it before on the postcards – the monuments and the museums. These are the landmarks the tourist buses will stop at for their get-on and get-off tours around the city.
Paris has more than your average city and for most visitors there’s barely enough time to see them all. There’s certainly very little time to venture away from them to see anything else.
But, by design or by good fortune, it’s not too difficult for a short-stay tourist to find the highlights of Paris. They are, conveniently, mostly set along the beautiful banks of the Seine River.
It is this part of the city that UNESCO added to its World Heritage List in 1991.
The official listing stretches along the river from the Pont de Sully to the Pont d’lena. In laymans terms, it goes from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Along the way are some of the city’s most famous sites including The Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, Les Invalides, the Grand Palais and the Mint.
Foreigners with cameras dominate the river banks where they mingle with touts, vendors and the occasional local rushing to get beyond the tourist hordes. This is a gorgeous part of the city – there’s no denying that – but it’s not the soul of Paris. It’s the elegant and photogenic veneer.
The section that has been included on UNESCO’s list boasts an impressive collection of architectural masterpieces. It also shows the development of design in the city and is evidence of the powerful hand of the state in town planning.
As part of my week of World Heritage Sites in Europe, I would now like to share some photos of what is officially called ‘Paris, Banks of the Seine’.
14 thoughts on “Along the banks of the Seine”
I hope that when time comes that Paris will strongly lure me, I’ll have the funds already… Hehe! I’m starting to love art more and more.
I always love watching artists working esp. on the streets. I saw one in Penang in Malaysia and another inside the Ta Prohm complex in Siem Reap.
Their talent always amazes me!
I always wonder what the subjects are thinking when people stop to watch street artists painting portraits. It would be kind of fun to stand behind the painter and pretend to be shocked and appalled at what they’re doing 🙂
hahahaha… that would be funny!!
Hmmmm I might just try it, good idea! Haha!
Beautiful photos of Paris!
I think it’s pretty hard to take a bad photo of Paris. Especially in the summer when the sun is out, everything along the river is just gorgeous!
Even the Seine River itself is already a tourist attraction! I love how placid it is, complementing the beauty of the city.
It’s also a good thing to know that most tourist spots are located by its banks. That way, it’s going to be easy for travelers to locate everything!
And others might have said this already, but GREAT PHOTOS YOU’VE GOT HERE!
Paris is super easy to get around and see everything. There are buses and tours that will take you up and down the river but I think the best way is just to walk it and see everything along the way. It’s quite a long way from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower but there’s plenty to keep you distracted along the way.
I think one of the most interesting aspects of human evolution is the fact that we’ve almost always developed major cities along waterways; it just goes to show the reliance on the natural resource.
That being said, most modern cities don’t use the primary waterways for consumption these days, but they continue to evolve along the routes.
Can’t wait to visit Paris; I’ve never been, and we are planning on being there at some point in 2014. Thanks for sharing, Michael!
You really can’t underestimate the importance of rivers for the development of cities. Even those close to the coast will still be formed where there is a clean freshwater supply like a river. I guess it’s necessary for transportation, agriculture and for drinking water – so it’s pretty important!
Paris is beautiful, without question – and there are so many extraordinary sights to see, explore and delight in. Some of which, like the Louvre, you can easily spend days wandering and feel as though you have only just begun – because you have. This section of the city is certainly fabulous, though I think that one of my favourite memories is of just getting lost wandering the streets and soaking in the creativity and beauty of life in Paris.
That was exactly what I thought when I was there this time – that you can never really see the whole city and truly understand it. There is just too much!
Hi There, Would there by any artists along the seine in January?
Hi Martina. January is a very cold month in Paris so there’s not a lot happening along the riverside. But, you never know. I’m sure you would probably find someone somewhere, but not as many as in summer. Your best bet would be to try near the Louvre or near Notre Dame.
No matter how many times I visit Paris, I always spend time strolling along the Seine. It is very grounding and a great way to get over jet lag on your first day arriving in Europe! Plus, as you say, there are so many architectural masterpieces along the Seine to enjoy.