- River Seine and Notre Dame
- Reviewed by
on March 30, 2015
We have a view of the Notre Dame not often seen. This photograph has been taken facing west with the rear of the cathedral highlighted. Note especially the external flying buttresses built later in the project for the much needed reinforcement of the structure.
The River Seine is radiant, bolstered on both sides by strong stone walls. To the right (north), hanging foliage graces the walls and to the left, trees. Tourist boats–most likely bateaux mouches–dock on the south side.
Walking along the Seine is one of the most delightful pastimes one can imagine in Paris. This particular section is notable for several reasons. If you were meandering along the walkway to the left, the Left Bank, and heading west, you would see two minuscule islands to your right, one of which is in this photo. The other, Île Saint-Louis, is a wee bit beyond.
Île de la Cité is the eastern most island (speck of land really) which is most prominently occupied by the Notre Dame. A knowledgeable visitor, after seeing the cathedral from the front and gazing at its magnificent interior, will take the time to walk to the rear, just beyond the flying buttresses and there to sit for a spell on the benches in the park.
The Île de la Cité is notable for a number of things, one of which is that it marks the exact center of Paris. A plaque has been placed among the cobblestones of the Place du Parvis de Notre Dame at the front of the cathedral to mark this precise spot.
A lesser known fact is that Paris is thought to have been first established as a modest settlement by a small Gallic tribe called the Parisii. The island created a natural safe haven from attacks by other tribes. Clearly, the Parisii lent their name to the city.
The most touristy method for enjoying the Seine is to take a bateau-mouche ride, but for our part, a walk is by far the premier method. You are in this way able to savor the river, the major sites of the city as well as the sounds, and the gentle pace of Parisian life.