Under The Bridges Of Paris
When you take the ride down the Seine for the first time on the Bateaux Mouches and the bright lights from the boat shine up on the buildings that line the river, it’s easy to dream about living in that perfect pied-à-terre you see staring back at you. There is one in particular that still stirs my soul to this very day…it has a large arched window at the penthouse of a beautiful old building on a quai of the 7th arrondissement. I can easily imagine myself stretched out on a “chaise longue,” eating rich French chocolates, reading Anaïs Nin and watching the boats glide along the still Seine waters.
There is something so magical about the Seine, this heartline of Paris that crooks at this particular spot so that geographically it runs from West to East, but in reality from North to South — so that what you think should be called “North Bank” and “South Bank” are the “Right Bank” and “Left Bank.”
Life in Paris started on the islands in the Seine — the Ile de la Cité where Notre Dame reigns and Ile Saint Louis, once a cow-pasture-turned-suburb. Sometime during the 3rd-century BC, a Celtic tribe called the Parisii (believed to mean ‘boat-men’), were attracted to the area’s elaborate river systems. Setting up home on what is now the Ile de la Cité, Paris’ first-known occupants thrived on their fishing and trading activities until Caesar’s war against the Gauls destroyed them in 52 BC. The plaza in front of Notre Dame (Place du Parvis) is now considered “Kilometer Zero” from which all distance in France in measured.
Every single time I cross the Seine by foot, I am compelled to pause for just a moment to gaze at both sides, to take a deep breath and with a sigh, remark, if only to myself, “I am so lucky to be here among this unequaled beauty.” I have dozens of photos taken from the “ponts” of Paris as there is simply no better “photo op” of a landscape that tells so much about the city in one brief click.
Biking along the Seine is one of Rose Marie Burke’s favorite rides — on an “auto-free” Sunday and holidays all year-round, the City of Paris closes selected roads along the Seine (and elsewhere) to automobile traffic, reserving them for pedestrians, skateboarders, baby carriages and bicyclists. For Rose’s ride in pedal by pedal instructions, click on http://www.insiderparisguides.com/parisbiking/sample.html
Every Summer now since 2002, “Paris Plage” takes up three kilometers of quais on the Right Bank and turns the river into a virtual seashore with sand and waterside activities.
Strolling with a lover along the edges of
the Seine is one of the most romantic activities one can experience in a lifetime. In Thirza Vallois’ latest book “Romantic Paris,” she says “If you can take but one romantic walk, it must be along the river Seine.”
“How would you like to be,
Down by the Seine with me?
Under the bridges of Paris with you,
I’ll make your dreams come true.”
For the most picturesque ride along the Seine without a car or bike, hop on the 72 bus. Start at Parc de Saint-Cloud and descend at the Hôtel de Ville de Paris (or visa-versa or even round trip). There is hardly a lovelier bus route.
For an unusual stroll along the Seine, more specifically “on” the Seine, head to the Allée des Cygnes. Considered part of the 15th arrondissement, both the ponts des Grenelle and Bir-Hakeim cross it as well as does the RER train between the stations Maison de Radio-France and Tour Eiffel. It’s 850 meters long, 11 meters wide and is punctuated by a miniature version of the Statue de la Liberty designed by Frenchman Bartholdi as a gift to the United States. A stroll down the “allée” at just about any time of year is heaven.
Living along the Seine is an accomplishable dream — thousands of people do it, even though finding these properties is no easy task. Scroll down for our favorite picks of properties on the market today — not inexpensive, but a small price to pay for heaven.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. Paris, be sure to stop by. 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for the details. See you there!
Each week Paris Property Picks features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various districts of Paris. As we are not a real estate agency, these properties do not constitute a sales listing. For those readers seriously interested in finding property in Paris or France, you can retain our services to do the whole thing for you. For more information, visit /frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
or contact Jocelyn Carnegie at [email protected]
*** PARIS 4TH QUAI BOURBON
On the 1st floor, 67m2 south facing apartment with lovely views over the river. In a fine 17th century building. Renovation envisaged. One bedroom and the possibility of buying a further 20m2 studio next door.
Asking Price: 744,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** PARIS 4TH QUAI D’ANJOU
Quai d’Anjou on Ile-Saint-Louis. 58m2 pied-à-terre with balconies/terrace and magnificent views of the Seine and Paris. Studio layout with one main room, small kitchen and bathroom.
Asking Price: 652,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** PARIS 4TH QUAI HENRIIV
59m2 apartment in a Haussmannian building. On raised ground floor, the property was formerly used commercially. Two bedrooms, high ceilings, parquet floors, mouldings. Looking south over the quai and Ile- Saint-Louis. There are three rooms to renovate.
Asking Price: 400,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** PARIS 5TH QUAI SAINT-MICHEL
2 bedroom apartment of 81m2 on the Quai St. Michel with a beautiful view of the river. On the third floor with 5 windows facing the river. Double living room, dining area, 1 bathroom and a small service bedroom. High ceilings, open beams, parquet flooring, fireplace. Cellar
Asking Price: 870,350 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee