Strolling along River Seine, Paris

There is a general impression that London is expensive than Paris, my experience is opposite, I believe London is not as expensive as Paris. I even found London cheaper than Barcelona. Exploring the essence of Paris couldn’t be easier if River Seine was flowing somewhere else. There is no better way of exploring the heart of Paris than wandering along the bank of River Seine.

A walk on the bank of the River Seine is one of the most pleasant ways to discover Paris.

Walking in the footsteps of history, River Seine is such a beautiful backdrop for all the historical and beautiful buildings that sit atop the ramparts of this river. Whatever time of the day you walk it is a transforming experience.

The Seine winds its way through the centre of Paris, a walkway along its bank is a great free way to spend some time.

Although it’s at its best in the heights of summer, only I am a winter person and prefer to visit Paris Christmas time. There is always something endearing about the atmosphere along the river, strolling up and down the river, crossing bridges to explore the views on both sides, and from standing over the water.

There’s something magical around the Seine, a river which defines the centre of Paris. There are 37 bridges across River Seine, four of them are pedestrian-only bridges.

First bridge I got across was Pont Neuf, despite its name Pont Neuf (new bridge) is the oldest bridge in Paris, which was completed in 1607, as the first stone bridge and without any houses in Paris.

The Alexandre III Bridge, which is a very peculiar bridge, and one can’t help holding back there for some time to admire this lovely construction, with the golden statues that represent Pegasus and the 32 bronze candelabrums that illuminate it.
Pont Alexandre III by Dimitre Destugues

The Conciergerie is situated between the Louvre and Notre Dame. The Kings of France abandoned the palace at the remnant of the 14th century. It remained King’s palace until 1358. It then engaged in a judicial role, and part of the palace was converted into prison cells.

The Conciergerie became one of the primary places of detention during the French Revolution, with the installation of the Revolutionary Court. Most infamous prisoner of the palace was Queen Marie-Antoinette, she spent her final night before being executed during the French revolution.

During the restoration, a commemorative chapel was put up on the site of her cell. A great deal of it is still used in the Paris law courts.

The Conciergerie

Most unexpectedly, you can buy books as you roam. The bookstalls are known as Bouquinistes of Paris, Bouquinistes are booksellers of used and antiquarian books who ply their trade along large sections of the bank of the Seine, where you can buy French novels, and translations of the Greek and Roman Classics.

They have been trading since the 16th century. There are also souvenir stalls, where you can buy postcards and miniature Eiffel Towers, all forms of merchandise, from cards and coasters to more substantial items.

Historical Bouquinistes along River Seine

The Seine has stood the test of time, drawing it the divine witness to the ebb and flow of life in French history.  The Seine last burst its banks in 1910, when water levels went up to 8.72 meters, flooding large parts of the city for up to a fortnight, the river flooded Paris when water pushed upwards from overflowing sewers and subway tunnels, and seeped into basements through fully saturated soil.

The waters did not overflow the river’s banks within the metropolis, but flooded Paris through tunnels, sewers, and drains.

In neighbouring towns both east and west of the capital, the river went up above its banks and flooded the surrounding terrain directly. Appraisals of the flood damage reached some 400 million francs, or $1.5 billion in today’s money.

The Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982, 2000 and June 2016.

By the end of the day, it was worth getting tired for dinner with a panorama of illuminated Eiffel Tower. Is there a better way to discover the heart of Paris? I don’t think so……

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