When I was in Paris last summer, M and I rented bicycles and rode around the Seine, Left Bank, and Notre Dame area. At one point, while cruising across one of Paris's gorgeous bridges we passed a musician playing the theme song to Amelie on his accordion and this moment has lingered in my memories like a magical dream. Biking around the city is an awesome way to experience Paris.
During this spring visit to Paris with my brother, however, we decided that boating along the river was definitely the thing to do. We didn't want to go on one of those guided tours or dinner boats so we opted for the Batobus, which is a shuttle that allows you to get on and off at various stops along the Seine. A day pass is 12 euros, so we took two round trip tours to get our money's worth, first in the afternoon and the second near sunset. I won't kid you, it was damn chilly outside but inside the plexiglass enclosure of the Batobus it was warm and cozy. I, being the shutterbug that I am, chose to stand outside at the back of the Batobus and take as many photos as I could of the passing scenery. How I wished I had brought gloves. For the last 15 minutes before our stop I begrudgingly had to seek the warmth of the indoors. With regret, I watched our approach to the Eiffel tower from behind plexiglass.
After we got off at the Eiffel stop, we crossed the queue filled underbelly of the Eiffel, past the East Indians laden with large metal rings carrying dozens and dozens of miniature Eiffel Tower keychains (3 for a euro), and wandered around the park. I was a little disconcerted by the murders of crows picking at garbage, squawking, and perching on tree branches. The place seemed like it belonged to the crows so we kept walking. We searched for a cheap place for lunch. We ended up at a brasserie with a neglectful waiter who couldn't be bothered (even after 3 requests) to bring a very thirsty Shehani some water until the very end of the meal. Most annoying. After we'd been fed and watered we spent a few hours at the Musee d'Orsay. The Paris weather was as moody and temperamental as a young lover. rain. sun. rain. sun. clouds. more sun. then rain. then sun again... Every time we looked out the gigantic windows while in the museum, we saw Paris's mood change.
It was downright cold on our second voyage on the Batoboat. This time I stayed inside for most of the trip. As we approached the opulently ornate Pont Alexandre III, I went out to brave the cold and snap photos as the sky turned evermore pink and magenta.
The back of the Batobus was crowded with a group of stereotypical sounding New York girls all taking turns to get their photo with the Eiffel Tower behind them. The pretty, skinny, long dark-haired mother hen of the group kindly offered to take my photo with the Eiffel Tower for me in slow English and the universal sign language of the clicking finger because, obviously, no Asian person speaks English, right? "DO...YOU...WANT... [clicking finger]". I was taken back and offended for a beat. Then I considered her offer for a further beat. Then I said, "Nah, that's alright." I was out there freezing my hands off for a reason: to try and capture the Eiffel Tower at sunset with the carousel lights, flags and river below it. She smiled and rubbed my arm. I shook my head on the inside and went back to my shutterbugging.
River boating is without a doubt a wonderfully relaxed way to see the charming architecture, river and bridges of this magical city.
All these photos were taken by me at the back of the Batobus on the river Seine in Paris.