In Europe, there is nothing more romantic than floating lazily down the Seine River with a bright moon high overhead, a swath of silver light on the gently moving river. As darkness drops and the City of Lights highlights monuments, mythical spots, ornate bridges, and historical buildings, it is easy to forever fall in love with the city of Paris.
The Seine River goes through the center of Paris, bordering on ten of the twenty arrondissements. There are thirty-seven bridges over this romantic river; the oldest is Pont Neuf, built in 1607 CE, and Pont Des Art, a tempestuous pedestrian bridge.
As we started our cruise, the Eiffel Tower was the first of the many draws we saw. A spectacle of light that, once seen, you will never forget. Gustave Eiffel constructed it for the 1889 CE World Fair commemorating the centennial of the Revolution. It is 1,063 feet tall and was the highest structure in the world at the time it was constructed.
Another sight that is unmissable on the Right Bank is the Louvre, one of the world’s most magnificent museums and a historic monument. Housed in the Louvre Palace (which is under reconstruction phase right now), it was constructed in the 12th century CE and started as a museum in 1793 CE. It contains paintings, sculptures, Egyptian antiquities, art objects, Roman and Greek art, and Ottoman-era Islamic art. Also adjacent to the Louvre is the Tuileries Gardens, designed by Catherine de Medici in 1564 CE.
We rode past quays and those, couples and others, walking or lying along the banks under the soft rays of the moonlight, savoring the tranquility of the Seine as it slowly flowed past. Eventually, we came to the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral ornamented against the night-time sky. A historic cathedral in French Gothic architecture, installation began in 1163 CE but was not completed until 1345 CE. And as we walked, the bells tolled as they have for numerous years.
Another brilliant historic site seen from the lake is the Grand Palais, easily recognizable because of its luxurious glass-domed roof. It is a museum and an exhibition hall. The foundation began in 1897 CE and was completed in 1900 CE. It is ornately embroidered in the Beaux-Arts architecture style. The Petit Palais adjacent to it was built about the same time.
The Palais de Chaillot, initially constructed for the 1878 CE World Fair, was reconstituted in 1937 CE when Paris was host at another World Fair. The building houses numerous different museums and has an aquarium with 10,000 fish, forty-three tanks, and a dedicated shark tunnel.
On the extreme-Left Bank of the Seine is Musee d’Orsay, a museum that has essentially French art dated between 1848 CE to 1915 CE. Many of the paintings are classics by renowned artists as Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. It is housed in a large railway station constructed between 1898 CE and 1900 CE.
And finally, there is the Moulin Rouge, founded in 1889 CE. It was the birthplace of the contemporary form of the can-can dance. This is last but not least because there are many other structures, rich in architecture and dazzling in lights that line the Seine River, and only a cruise at night will give you this glimpse of a Paris that looks totally different in the daylight.
There are several ways to explore and visit Paris but traveling down the Seine River, as we did (my friends and me) on our first evening there, is an excellent introduction to the capital and what it has to offer.