The embankment of the river Seine is very inviting for a walk on a hot day in Paris. As the opportunity presented itself we used it and strolled from Île de la Cité to the Eiffel Tower and back on the other side of the river.
The river Seine
The river has its source in the North of France and then flows all the way down into the British Channel. This makes the river a good 777 kilometres long. Its source is about 30 kilometres to the northeast of Dijon and was city property of Paris since 1864. A small artificial grotto was constructed around it to protect the main source. Paris has returned ownership of the source to the region by now.
Paris, Troyes and Rouen are on the river Seine.
The Seine embankment in Paris is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Seine in Paris
We step down a handful of stairs from the road at a bridge and get to the embankment promenade that runs alongside the Seine in Paris. It is really warm, but down here we feel a tiny breeze and the water is cooling down the air slightly. The is very little shade, only under the bridges or under one of the very few trees, but it is still pleasant.
Our walk starts at the Pont au Change and we move downstream towards the Eiffel Tower. We can see the Île de la Cité next to us in the Seine until we have passed the Pont Neuf. We spot a restaurant boat under the name of Les Jardins du Pont Neuf. Dining here in the sunset hours seems tempting. But we are sure it is also pricey.
The next bridge we pass is Pont des Arts. This one is, as opposed to the previous ones, a pedestrian bridge only. It is 155 meters long and consists of 7 arches, each 22 meters wide. This steel structure was constructed in 1884 but its predecessor that had a very similar design stood here since 1804.
The view of the Seine is really very lovely. But my eyes also keep wandering back to the tall walls running along the Seine embankment. In some spots there are bouldering routes with grips and wooden steps for kids build into the walls. In other spots, there are benches underneath some trees with people on them who enjoy the sun, eat and drink. The perfect recreational area.
In the distance, the Eiffel Tower keeps coming in and out of view. For the entire time of our walk, this big structure is coming closer very very slowly. It didn’t look that far on the map. But we are not in a rush and we keep walking at a very leisurely pace past the Musée d’Orsay on the south bank of the Seine, across from the Tuileries. The former Gare d’Orsay is an art museum today.
The most impressive bridge on our way to the Eiffel Tower is probably the Pont Alexandre III. It is a neo-baroque bridge and very pompous.
From here it's not that much further to the Eiffel Tower. We cross over to the other side via Pont d’léna directly in front of the Eiffel Tower for our way back.
We see Sacre Coeur on the horizon in the distance. We luckily have the right lens for our camera with us and can still take a photo.
Close to the Île de la Cité begins a stretch with the stalls of the bouquinistes of Paris - the booksellers. They sell books, magazines, comic books and souvenirs.
We finally arrive back where we started. We see the church Notre Dame.
Our feet hurt, I forgot to apply sunscreen and already have a sunburn – it was a lovely, very long walk.