Experiencing The Serenity of The Seine


Paris Sightseeing – Seine River Cruise

Pictures and visuals of the River Seine bursting its banks and inundating the streets of Paris grabbed my attention earlier this year. News reports indicated that mercifully the rains had stopped short of another disaster, evoking memories of the floods of 1910.

River Seine Paris

My mind flew back in time to a rainy evening in Paris. The rain-washed roads glistened as the sun peeped out timidly from behind dark clouds. We turned and craned our necks upwards to take another look at ‘La dame de fer‘, the iron lady. We had just emerged from a lift that had taken us all the way up the Eiffel Tower and then brought us back to the ground, after a feasting on the breathtaking panoramic views of Paris.

View from the Eiffel Tower Seine

We now made our way towards a nearby pier from where we would board a boat that would take us on a cruise of the river Seine. A cruise on the Seine was one of the things that we simply wanted to experience, the other was a road trip to explore the beauty of the French countryside.

We clambered onto the boat with hardly any waiting and soon we were off. We took vantage window seats near the door to experience the river as closely as possible. Each seat was equipped with a headphone and commentaries in English, French, and other languages were available. The commentary was very effective in bringing alive the history and romance of the various buildings and structures that dotted both sides of the river.

Bridge over the river Seine

We watched in awe the beautiful Parisian landscape as we gently glided in the tranquil waters of the Seine.

It was thrilling to glide under the bridges that span the river. There is a total of 32 bridges across the river. Many of this bridges are masterpieces of sheer artistry. They are adorned with magnificent statues and sculptures.

Eiffel Tower Seine


We looked back and saw the Eiffel Tower looming iconically in the Parisian skyline. As the water of the Seine gently flowed beneath our boat, we glided past the Musée d’Orsay which lay majestically on the left bank of the Seine. The Museum stretched so long across the left bank, it looked like the exterior of a European railway station. We later found out that the Musée d’Orsay was indeed originally a railway station, Gare d’Orsay. In fact, it had been a terminus for Southwestern railways till 1939. The people in the railway station those days could not have imagined in their wildest dreams, that the station would one day house the masterpieces of great artists.Today the museum is a treasure trove of French art and includes paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography. Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin are some of the masters whose work adorn the museum.

Le musée d'Orsay Seine

The boat gently weaved its way past the Musée d’OrsayMusée .We peered at the waters of the Seine that had assumed a golden sheen reflecting the colors of twilight. What a setting for the products of the imaginative genius of extraordinary men and women, we thought.

The Conciergerie had assumed a benign hue and looked  serene and elegant, bathed by the colors of the setting sun. The commentary painted a different picture as it took us through the history of this building. The Conciergerie which currently housed law courts was once a prison. From this very building prisoner in hundreds were shepherded to the guillotines across various parts of Paris. The building that looked so serene and elegant housed dingy dungeons underneath which was once packed with humanity who were a few steps away from a horrible death. Some of the famous prisoners who had stayed in the Conciergerie when it was a prison included the likes of Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, and Madame Du Barry among others.

The boat sailed past the Conciergerie and as we turned around to take one more look at this elegant building we could almost hear the desperate wails and shrieks as men and women were herded to the guillotines like lambs to the slaughter. We involuntarily pulled our jackets closer as a shiver ran through our bodies.

conciergerie, Paris Seine

The boat then moved on its course and soon we set our eyes on the southern facade of one of the most well-known church buildings in the world, the Notre-Dame. The Notre-Dame is ranked among the best examples of French Gothic architecture, and it looked ethereal in the soft fading light of the evening. The mere sight of the Notre-Dame evoked a strange calm in our minds and we stared at this hallowed building which housed treasures like the Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross and the Holy Nails.

Notre- Dame Paris Seine

We looked at a couple sitting on a bench on the banks of the Seine, drowned in the unfathomable depths of each others’ eyes, another couple walked hand in hand, gazing at the flowing Seine. We looked at each other and smiled. We were sure that those magical moments would be frozen in time and memory for those couples as well as for us.


The boat took a turn and we headed back towards the Eiffel Tower. We again passed below gilded bridges now brightly lit up and shining like necklaces caressing beautiful necks. Soon the Eiffel Tower came into sight and we let off a collective sigh at the beauty that was framed in the horizon. The Eiffel Tower was illuminated and it shone with the radiance of a bride all made up and ready for her wedding. The Eiffel Tower stood erect, bright and resplendent, an icon of romance, peace, liberty and fraternity. An icon to all that is beautiful and lovely in the World.

eiffel-at-night Seine

Do check out our short video of Seine River Cruise:

We got off the boat, our minds still relieving the serene experience of the Seine and we knew that this experience was something unique and something that had really touched our hearts.

We were now ready for our next adventure in France and eager to plan our French road trip.

Paris Sightseeing - Seine River Cruise

Paris Sightseeing - Seine River Cruise

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55 thoughts on “Experiencing The Serenity of The Seine

  1. Paris is just so romantic! Your photos made me swoon. I hope that my husband and I can take a journey to this beautiful city someday. Thank you for the attraction recommendations!

  2. Wow…you gave us the exact itinerary we were looking for our soon to happen Paris trip 🙂 We will definitely try to experience most of what you have mentioned

  3. I was doing that same cruise in 1999 (so long ago) when I was 13, so unfortunately I didn’t have the interest i have now and didn’t see the magic in it, but reading about it today has made me wonder when am I going to get those tickets to Paris? 😉

  4. Your photos make me want to visit Paris again! I was there for only a few days and didn’t get to take a cruise down the Seine river – would’ve been nice! Next time for sure! Great post, btw!

  5. I swoon at your photos too. Did the same cruise a while back (my first time in Paris) but wasn’t really into it. I’d love to do it all over again when I go to Paris next. There’s always something about this place that makes you want to go back over and over again.

  6. Somehow we managed to not to a river cruise when we were there last and now I’m kicking myself. I love how you describe Paris and its sights. The river really is the heart of the city. Oh, Paris…

  7. Some really gorgeous pictures and awesome story telling you got there! Love as well how the tower illuminates at night… Paris is an all-time fav, sigh… happy traveling!

  8. Such a great way to see so many sights in Paris on one trip, I’m adding this to my bucket list! I have been to Paris but I’ve never been for a cruise on the River Seine, I must fix that! You provide an informative and detailed review of your trip – thank you for sharing!

  9. I always find it interesting the beauty we find in places that housed such dark events, then to think about a mundane train station being used to house such important pieces of human history! Paris seems overwhelmingly full of places I must see. This is a beautiful account of your time on the river cruise. Thank you for sharing.

  10. This is a beautiful account of your time on the river cruise. I find it amazing the beauty that we find in places that have such dark past while others were built through necessity and now hold some of our greatest treasures. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Paris is perfect from the water – I’ve done a river cruise by day & night, both are amazing but totally different. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  12. Paris along Seine was my favorite part of this city too. The only thing it left me with was more craving to see these sights, closer. Next time (which I hope will happen) I would want to do a hop on and hop off cruise.

  13. Couldn’t agree more that Paris is only half-seen if you don’t take a trip along the Seine. Not difficult to see why this river as such an integral part of the city and I must also say, you have a very nice turn of phrase. Thoroughly enjoyable read

  14. Yes, a cruise down the Seine is the quintessential Parisian experience 🙂 It being the city of romance, it was apt you did this as a couple, and noticed other lovebirds strolling the streets too. And it makes sense that the Eiffel Tower should feature so prominently – you’ve got some great pictures of it here!

  15. I came back from Paris a month ago and I must say I am totally in love with this city. It is so beautiful and charming . I really enjoyed the “Love bridges” that have so many different stories to tell.

  16. Your post brought back some of my favourite memories! The highlight of the Seine river cruise for me is to watch the Eiffel Tower light up. One instant it is standing tall and strong and the next it is twinkling with what looks like a 1000 stars. A magical moment indeed.

  17. You made paris look so lovely and fun to explore! Really like this share since many people find Paris to be slightly ‘boring’ or gloomy but it apparently has much to offer. In fact I felt like my 2 days there was slightly too rushed. I’ll be sure to take a little more time there on my next trip!

  18. Wow – this looks incredible! I went to Paris several years ago but did not get the opportunity to experience this romantic boat ride 🙁 That gives me an extra reason to go back to Paris! 😃

  19. Took up the River Cruise tour in Paris while visiting the city with my parents a couple of years ago. It is a perfect way to enjoy the magical city in a relaxing journey across the River Siene. Thanks for bringing back all the beautiful memories through your post :).

  20. I have always thought rivers cruises are the best for me anyway and Imagine Seine River Cruise would not be a disappointment. Especially down the river canals of Paris as a back drop!

  21. Paris is a stunning city with great architecture. My first time there was truly amazing. I’ve been a few times more and have take a cruise down the River Seine. I discover something new about Paris each time I’m there.

  22. This post is absolutely fantastic. I felt like I could see and hear and feel what you were experiencing right alongside you. Excellent writing! This sounds like a great way to see the city, and to learn a bit more about the history behind some of the iconic buildings.

  23. This cruise around the Seine and Paris is famous, because it’s really interesting to see how much you enjoyed it, and my hometown! Paris is majestic and romantic, and the historic background is just definitely one of the most amazing criteria people are coming and doing this cruise! I did it when I was young, and I have such perfect memories about it!

  24. I would definitely do this cruise while visiting Paris. So beautiful and your pictures captured that. Learning the history is an extra bonus to go with the lovely scenery.

  25. Ah, the romance of Paris. But the water tour definitely paints a different picture of such a haunting past behind those iconic and stunning buildings. We had the pleasure of simply walking along it and checking out the bridges and the buildings (Notre Dame was a favorite) I wish we would have had the time to do a river cruise, if anything for the commentary on what we were seeing!

  26. An interesting tour and certainly an interesting read. It is nice to get to know the history of the Paris and how the place transforms and evolves to what it is today. If I have magic, I wish people at Gare d’Orsay could see the old railway station turns into Musée d’Orsay.

  27. This was such an awesome read! I haven’t quite been to Paris yet but am looking forward to it! I have done a few river cruises and they have been such nice experiences. Your photography is nice 😀

  28. Paris looks so incredible and your pictures are great! I need to promise myself to visit there when I am back in Europe. Even if it’s only for a couple of days

  29. I must say that I’ve never quite considered seeing Paris and the Eiffel Tower by river boat. As more of rural traveler than a city traveler, I had quite honestly crossed Paris off the list some time ago. Thank you so much for giving it a new perspective, and for giving me a chance to reconsider! Wonderful writing as well, I love to come across articles like yours that tell a story with stunning prose. I much prefer this over the typical guide-book-style, boring, step-by-step accounts of travel! Bravo, fellow writer!!

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