Parc Rives de Seine ☆☆

Notre Dame de Paris from pont de la Tournelle. Quai de la Tournelle on the left. (Photo by Lolowaro)
Notre Dame de Paris from pont de la Tournelle. Quai de la Tournelle on the left.

The banks of Seine are now a park, with summertime beaches, bike paths, pedestrian zones, pools, gardens, foot bridges, and more—plus classic river cruises

As with the rivers in most major cities, starting in the late 1800s thorugh mid-1900s, Paris slowly turned its back on the storied Seine River, which for centuries had been the economic lifeline and central focus of life in Paris since the earliest Celtic and Roman days of Lutèce.

Once the river became encased in high embankments to control flooding and commecial transport moved largely to the railways and, later, the roads, the river became something of an afterthought.

Sure, tourists have continued to cruise the Seine on pleasure boats, but the raised embankments became inner-city highways, the crazy traffic along the top (and often also along the bottom) cutting most pedestrians off from the river. The lower levels of the embankments became largely ignored except for a few strollable bits (plus the restaurant boats that have gone in and out of fashion).

The redevelopment of the Seine

Slowly, over the past 20 years or so, Paris has been rediscovering its river. The hugely successful plage en Paris summer program that trucked in tons of sand to turn key stretches of the lower embankment into urban beaches has turned into a full-blown redevelopment effort for the banks of the Seine.

Between 2010 and 2013 they converted the Left Bank, and by April of 2017 had finished the Right Bank as well and officially opened the Park of the Banks of the Seine. 

The project converted 7km of the river banks—covering some 25 acres—(many of them previoulsly roads) to pedestrian and cycling paths, with easier access to the water's edge, grass and trees and flowers, places to relax or work out, swimming pools (one's at quai François Mauriac/Quai de la Gare), floating gardens, playgrounds (some with climbing walls and via ferrata courses), pétanque courts (below the Louis-Philippe bridge), craft fairs, snack shacks, open-air bars, pianos, 3D "telescopes" providing Parisian history, and more. There are even places where you can recharge your phone by pedaling a stationary bike.

There are also spaces (and initiatives) for more activities and events, especially ones connected to major existing Seine-side attractions like the Musée d'Orsay and the Tuileries Gardens.

Photo gallery
  • Notre Dame de Paris from pont de la Tournelle. Quai de la Tournelle on the left., Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Lolowaro)
  • , Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Nicolas Winspeare)
  • Berges de Paris, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Thomon)
  • Parc Rives de Seine at Pont Alexandre III, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Guilhem Vellut)
  • Students watching the sunset by the Seine, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Jorge Royan)
  • Quai Anatole France Reorganization of the Seine's left bank for pedestrians, cyclists and different outdoor activities, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Fred Romero)
  • A Seine-side swimming pool, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
  • Paris Cafe on the River, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Schezar)
  • Two entertainments in barges on the Seine by Notre Dame (the one in the back is a restaurant and small theater called La Nouvelle Seine,, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Paris, Notre Dame -- 2014 -- 1528” / CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • Quai de la Tournelle, Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo by Fabrice Denis Photography)
  • , Banks of the Seine, Paris (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
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Useful French phrases

Useful French for sightseeing

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Où est? ou eh
...the museum le musee luh moo-ZAY
...the church l'eglise leh-GLEEZ
...the cathedral le cathédrale luh ka-teh-DRAHL
When is it open? Quand est-il ouvert?  coan eh-TEEL oo-VAIR
When does it close? A quelle heure est-ce que cela ferme? ah kell eur es kuh suhla fair-MAY
ticket billet d'entrée bee-YAY dahn-TRAY
two adults deux adultes dooz ah-DOOLT
one child un enfant ehn ahn-FAHN
one student un étudiant uh-NETOO-dee-YON

Basic phrases in French

English (anglais) French (français) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you merci mair-SEE
please s'il vous plaît seel-vou-PLAY
yes oui wee
no non no
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? par-lay-VOU on-GLAY
I don't understand Je ne comprende pas zhuh nuh COHM-prohnd pah
I'm sorry Je suis desolée zhuh swee day-zoh-LAY
How much does it cost? Combien coute? coam-bee-YEHN koot
That's too much C'est trop say troh
Good day Bonjour bohn-SZOURH
Good evening Bon soir bohn SWAH
Good night Bon nuit  bohn NWEE
Goodbye Au revoir oh-ruh-VWAH
Excuse me (to get attention) Excusez-moi eh-skooze-ay-MWA
Excuse me (to get past someone) Pardon pah-rRDOHN
Where is? Où est? ou eh
...the bathroom la toilette lah twah-LET
...train station la gare lah gahr

Days, months, and other calendar items in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quand est-il ouvert? coan eh-TEEL oo-VAIR
When does it close? Quand est l'heure de fermeture?   coan eh lure duh fair-mah-TOUR
At what time... à quelle heure... ah kell uhre
Yesterday hier ee-AIR
Today aujoud'hui ow-zhuhr-DWEE
Tomorrow demain duh-MEHN
Day after tomorrow après demain ah-PRAY duh-MEHN
a day un jour ooun zhuhr
Monday Lundí luhn-DEE
Tuesday Maredí mar-DEE
Wednesday Mercredi mair-cray-DEE
Thursday Jeudi zhuh-DEE
Friday Vendredi vawn-druh-DEE
Saturday Samedi saam-DEE
Sunday Dimanche DEE-maansh
a month un mois ooun mwa
January janvier zhan-vee-YAIR
February février feh-vree-YAIR
March mars mahr
April avril ah-VREEL
May mai may
June juin zhuh-WAH
July juillet zhuh-LYAY
August août ah-WOOT
September septembre sep-TUHM-bruh
October octobre ok-TOE-bruh
November novembre noh-VAUM-bruh
December décembre day-SAHM-bruh

Numbers in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 un ehn
2 deux douh
3 trois twa
4 quatre KAH-truh
5 cinq sank
6 six sees
7 sept sehp
8 huit hwhee
9 neuf nuhf
10 dix dees
11 onze ownz
12 douze dooz
13 treize trehz
14 quatorze kah-TOHRZ
15 quinze cans
16 seize sez
17 dix-sept dee-SEP
18 dix-huit dee-SWEE
19 dix-neuf dee-SNEUHF
20 vingt vahn
21* vingt et un * vahnt eh UHN
22* vingt deux * vahn douh
23* vingt trois * vahn twa
30 trente truhnt
40 quarante kah-RAHNT
50 cinquante sahn-KAHNT
60 soixante swaa-SAHNT
70 soixante-dix swa-sahnt-DEES
80 quatre-vents  kat-tra-VAHN
90 quatre-vents-dix  kat-tra-vanht-DEES
100 cent sant
1,000 mille meel
5,000 cinq mille sank meel
10,000 dix mille dees meel

* You can form any number between 20 and 99 just like the examples for 21, 22, and 23. For x2–x9, just say the tens-place number (trente for 30, quarante for 40, etc.), then the ones-place number (35 is trente cinq; 66 is soixsante six). The only excpetion is for 21, 31, 41, etc. For x1, say the tens-place number followed by " un" (trente et un, quarante et un, etc.).

‡ Yes, the French count very strangely once they get past 69. Rather than some version of "seventy,' they instead say "sixy-ten" (followed by "sixty-eleven," "sixty-twelve,' etc. up to "sixty-nineteen.") And then, just to keep things interesting, they chenge it up again and, for 80, say 'four twenties"—which always make me thinks of blackbirds baked in a pie for some reason. Ninety becomes "four-twenties-ten" and so on up to "four-nineties-ninteen" for 99, which is quite a mouthful: quartre-vingts-dix-neuf. 



Cruising past Notre Dame on the Ile-de-la-Cité (Photo Unknown)

Take a sightseeing or dinner cruise on the Seine River