Are you planning a trip to “The City of Light”? Perhaps you have dreamed of strolls along famous Paris streets or through quaint Paris neighborhoods. In this remarkable city, each turn brings a new café, historical site or a fascinating store to explore. And what about those ornate bridges over the River Seine? Many of these bridges offer stellar views.
Fortunately, there seems to be an abundant supply of Paris walks for you to enjoy, from historical to food related, you can’t go wrong if you get off the metro and onto your own two feet. A quick internet search will help you find specific routes that interest you.
I’ll never forget my first walk in Paris in 1980. I arrived at the Gare Montparnasse train station, luggage in hand, looking forward to an extended stay. Michel suggested we walk to his apartment in place de la Bastille, and as we ambled along, I took in the breathtaking views all around me.
Here is the excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, describing my first glimpse of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
“Fifteen minutes later, we spotted the Pont de Sully bridge over the Seine. “Wait until you see the view.” Michel urged me forward with a hand on the small of my back. Once we reached the middle of the bridge, he lowered my suitcase to the ground and pointed west.
“There’s Notre-Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité.”
I lifted my right eyebrow. “That’s an island?”
“Yes, and we’ll cross over Île Saint-Louis to reach the Right Bank on the other side.”
We stood there for a few moments and I drank in the scene. Peaceful rustic gray barges—one trimmed in bright orange and blue—rested alongside the river’s seawall. Random terra-cotta flowerpots filled with purple winter pansies or miniature pine trees rested on a few decks. Off in the distance, a second arched bridge, Pont de la Tournelle, offered people another route on and off the island, and the multi-towered Notre-Dame Cathedral, proudly displayed its French Gothic architecture.
Wow, what a view. I can’t believe I’m actually here in Paris, seeing all of this in person.””