Thursday, October 22, 2020

Elaine Sciolino’s, The Seine, the River that made Paris


I visited Paris many times before moving here, but the Seine was not on my to-do list. 

I’d rush around from one museum, restaurant, monument to another, checking them off as I went. 

Not till I moved next to the Seine 6 years ago did I come to see what an integral part it plays in Parisians’ lives. Its the lifeblood of the city. 

Parisians sit in cafes and watch the world go by. And they sit along the Seine and do the same thing. 

Is it because its so accessible? Walking over a bridge on the Seine takes a few minutes unlike crossing the Thames of London. 

The banks/les Berges along the Seine are a designated historic monument and car-free. Life is teaming along the Seine year-round but especially in Spring, Summer,Fall. As goal-oriented tourists often we miss out. Are we like Emily in Paris, who can’t slow down, stop working or talking and just chill? 

That’s why you need to read Elaine Sciolino’s book, The Seine The river that made Paris  now out in paperback. Better yet, let Elaine tell her stories out loud on the audio version. She has so many wondrous stories to tell. 

Among them how Paris fireman pumped water from the Seine to put out burning Notre Dame. 

Did you know there used to be swim clubs 🏊‍♀️ along the Seine. Now there are Salsa clubs. Why didn't I move here 30 years ago? I created a map and bookplate for Elaine’s book tour last year, but its taken me awhile to figure out what my own relationship is to the Seine. I’m still working on it.

 I do know, after 6 years of living together, I never take a route home that isn’t beside her, crossing over 1 or 2 bridges on the way. You will definitely enjoy The Seine. Happy dreams of Paris PBers ❤️🥂🐻


Ga From Dekalb said...

Once again you have given my morning a joyful start with your beautiful photos of the Seine and it's
surrounding life. I love to wander past the bouquinistes. I wonder how they are doing now.
All the best!

Elaine Sciolino said...

This is SO lovely, Carol. Thank you so much! I am very touched.

Mary Russell said...

Bonjour Carol! Great way for me to wake up this AM. Beautiful photos & I love the sketch too. On my first trip to Paris, I was drawn to the Seine immediately. The River looked so different with each bridge I crossed. Elaine’s audio book made the river come alive. It was like a walking tour! I bought the book too so I could follow with her photographs. Your post made my day today. It’s been 6 years since I became a PB’er🇫🇷💚🐼 merci!

Bonnie L said...

Lovely post, and pictures, Carol. I love walking along the quais when in Paris. And taking a mini cruise on the Vedettes de Pont Neuf still thrills. The Seine is where it all began, from a fishing village on the little island that would become Île de la Cité. What would Paris be without the Seine?! I’m looking forward to reading Elaine’s book, merci!

robinita said...

I love all the parts of Paris you bring to our attention! The painting "Luncheon at the Boating Party" has a Susan Vreeland book all about it. She has written several books about artist. My faves are about Artemisia Gentileschi and Emily Carr. Blog on!

~Suzanne~ said...

Each time we visit we try to find an apt. Close to the river. It’s my favorite part of being in Paris. I call it “the soul of the city”.
I’m really missing Paris. I loved this post and your photos! Thank you PB.

R phone said...

Your lovely post made me think of "The Audition" song from the movie LaLaLand..

judithm said...

Just what I needed in this chaotic moment, something to ground me. Thank you, Carol.

métrogirl said...

Thank you so very much for the book recommendation...!
I just bought it for my Kindle as I loved her book "The Only Street in Paris".
And thanks to you for sharing your Paris with us...!

Jane Gabon said...

And why didn’t I have my Paris obsession 30 years ago?
Must enjoy the NOW as much as possible!
Every morning when you wake up, the Seine is just across the street!


Lynn S said...

Ordered the book. Eager to read it.

Diane said...

All I can say is...great minds think alike ;)...I just bought this book on Wednesday! It looks good...I’ll share it when done if you are interested.

sukicart said...

Have the book, of course, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. The Seine is always the first place I go when I get to Paris - my favorite place- as I'm a river person and the Seine is my 2nd favorite (after the mighty Mississippi). How about a Seine map with the bridges? Would love that. Hugs to you and Bear.

Lynda said...

Thank you so much - that was such a lovely post about the Seine. You really took me there and I’m very moved.

On our second visit to Paris we stayed in the 16th to better explore that side of the city. We spent the hottest part of a summer day on the skinny Île aux Cygnes to cool off walking through the trees, right in the middle of the river. It would be quite pretty this time of year, too.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you R phone

La La Land - "Audition (the fools who dream)" scene

My aunt used to live in Paris

I remember she used to come home,
And she would tell us
Stories about being abroad

And I remember she told us that she
Jumped into the river once


She smiled...

leapt, without looking
And tumbled into the Seine
The water was freezing
She spent a month sneezing
But said she would do it again

Here's to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that ache
Here's to the mess we make

She captured a feeling
A sky with no ceiling
The sunset inside a frame
She lived in her liquor
And died with a flicker
I'll always remember the flame

Here's to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that ache
Here's to the mess we make

She told me: a bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that's why they need us

So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here's to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that break
Here's to the mess we make

I trace it all back to then
Her, and the snow, and the Seine
Smiling through it, she said
She'd do it... again

Maxine said...

Stunning photos! Thanks for this edition of PB. I got The Seine for Christmas and have since passed it on to my son to read. Glad to know from you that it's now out in paperback.

Sally V said...

Just today! I sent a Buffalo, NY friend your street map of Rue des Martyrs and told her of that book by Elaine Sciolino. Elaine Sciolino is from Buffalo and a graduate of Canisius College where my husband taught. She spoke at a college graduation and the one thing my husband remembers is that "she never stopped smiling and she seemed so happy to be there." I love knowing about her Italian family memories. There is a nice piece written by her about "Emily in Paris" that was in a recent NYTimes Reader Center.

Sardi said...

Thanks for the tip. You always recommend such good books.

Anonymous said...

When I got evacuated because of Forest Fires in Oregon this is the book I brought with me, I Love the Only Street in Paris and read it twice. Good reads ,for sure!

Julie P said...

It is your photos of the Seine that steal our hearts every time, more than boulangeries, Louvre, Chanel, Art expos,
wonderful as they all are. That Seine snared me years ago, and I want to return every time you photograph it,
surtout along its split for Ile St-Louis!

Jeanie said...

I thought I had that book but I'm scanning my shelves and I can't find it. So maybe it's another in the Paris collection. I love the photos and post hee. It's a marvelous river and one always sees fascinating things when walking by!

Happy weekend!

Lisa in London said...

I live on a boat on the Thames and found your comparison between traversing the the Seine on foot and crossing the Thames (the latter being longer?) odd. I live next to the Battersea (221 m) and Albert (216 m) Bridges in Chelsea - neither takes more than 3 minutes to cross on foot.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thanks for the correction Lisa,
I think it was Waterloo bridge I crossed on the way to The National theatre and took the bus returning. Admittedly I find London size-wise enormous next to Paris. Is there a sort of Paris plage in summers in London?

Joanne said...

re The Seine, I was fortunate to spend a short month in Paris in 2011, with a student group from the California University & College system (I was 59 years old). We stayed in the 6th Arr in a convent that was empty for the Summer, a few blocks from Luxembourg Gardens. The Seine was one the FIRST places I wanted to explore! As a way to see the city during the day and at night.
The most interesting tour/ride I did was the one that takes the river up North through all the locks/gates, all the way up to La Villette. Very different part of the city and vibe, quite interesting and felt 'off the beaten path.' Saw some fun murals and graffiti along the way, and different locals. Wonder if you've done that tour.

Julie K said...

Just a note to say how much I love your Paris Breakfasts missives.
They bring joy, memories and great yearning for a return trip to lovely, lovely Paris. Thank you for sharing your Paris love affair.

Vicki said...

Thanks! Making me look at the Seine with new eyes!

Kirrabelle said...

Thanks for the book recommendation Carol! I really enjoyed her book The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, which I think I also found out about through your blog.

Bugs said...

What a beautiful place to be.