Friday, September 25, 2015

Paris From the Seine.

Looking towards the Left Bank.

I

   am about as fond of city river boat cruises as I am hop on hop off bus tours but again, a boat cruise along the Seine was included in our City Pass so we had to take it. I decided to keep an open mind.

The Seine cruises all depart from the docks near the Eiffel Tower so from Montmartre, we took the Metro to the École Militaire stop and from there, walked along the water towards the tower.   Z is a fast walker but for some reason, today he was walking extra fast.  Perhaps because it was already early evening and he wanted to make sure we got our boat ride in before sun set.


I thought I had left the Chinese brides behind in Santorini, Greece but apparently, they're here too!

Don't ask me why the ticket is for Aug 7th at 5p.
Of course, there are several boat companies in operation.  The first one that we came upon was, unfortunately, not ours so we had to walk a bit further.  In my case, I was almost doing a light job to keep up with Z!

Thankfully, our boating company, Bateaux Parisiens, was located just a short walk further.  We made it into line just as a boat was pulling away so Z and I ended up behind at the front of the line for the next departure which was at 6:30p.  The ride itself would be about an hour long and we would pass under some 22 bridges.

As we stood in line, more people arrived.


When it was time to board, we had to make a quick stop for the photographer.  They have to make their money with taking cheesy photos.  We scooted off as quickly as we could and made our way to the upper deck.  It was chilly day and I was concerned it would get colder as the sun set but if I'm going to do this ride, then I'll go for it.  Worse case is that I head down to the lower level if I can't bear the chill.


Other passengers in queue to board our boat.

The cargo ferry,  carrying containers for Franprix (a local supermarket) is a reminder that this is a working river. 

Yep, boat cruises along the Seine are a popular tourist thing to do.

Shortly after 6:30p, the boat away from dock and we cruised east towards Notre-Dame Cathedral.  It was windy on the boat and you can hear it on the short video that I took.


As with our Big Bus tour, cruising along the Seine gave us a different vantage point from which to see the famous landmarks of the city, especially the bridges which we don't get to appreciate when we're walking across them.

Unlike the Big Bus tour, there is no audio guide on this tour so I would recommend doing the boat cruise at the end of your stay in Paris.

Leaving Pont Alexandre III behind.

The Musée d'Orsay.


The Louvre.

Palais de l'Institue de France.


Some boats here are not for ferrying passengers around; they're homes!

Passing under Pont Neuf, the oldest of the bridges that span the Seine.

Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Passing under Pont au Double, a cast iron bridge that was opened in 1883 as a one arch bridge. It was designed by Henri-Prosper Bernard and Jules Lax.


Getting to see this spectacular view of the South Rose Window was worth the price of the boat ticket alone!

They're wondering why we're on a boat.  We're passing under a bridge with a railing covered in locks.

This was another wonderful view of Notre-Dame Cathedral.  You can really see the wonderful roof details.

Once we passed Île de la Cité, the boat turned around and headed west.


Taking photos against the backdrop of the setting sun was not easy.  It's times like this that I wish I was a much, much, much better at taking photos.




Pont Neuf

Pont des Arts

Even just by looking at the silhouettes, you can identify the landmarks.  The columns of Pont Alexandre III on the left and right; the Eiffel Tower on the left.

Pont Alexandre III holds the title for the most elegant of the Seine bridges.

Each of the four piers of the Pont de l’Alma was adorned with a statue representing a regiment which fought during the Crimean War.  The one that is seen when you are on a boat on the Seine is the Zouave soldier, sculpted by Georges Diebolt.  The Zouaves Regiment distinguished themselves at the Battle of the Alma (1854) during the Crimean War.  The battle ended in the victory of France, England, Piedmont and the Ottoman Empire over Russia.


Our boat cruised past the Eiffel Tower so we could get a nice look at it against the light of the setting sun.  It really does look pretty in this light.




We passed under Pont d'Iéna before turning around and returning to the dock.


It was a chilly ride but I was so distracted by the sights we saw along the way, I didn't even notice the cold. All in all, it wasn't as bad an experience as I thought it would be though I still rather be exploring a place on foot than cruising about the water.

Back on ground, we had to make our way back to the Right Bank.  We had a show to take in!