Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Along the river...

Today we return to the banks of the Seine. It's refreshing journey, after going back to work and finding it more depleting than wandering 4-6 miles a day in Paris. In the latest chapter of A Moveable Feast, Hemingway talks about the People of the Seine.

"Across the branch of the Seine was the Île St.-Louis with the narrow streets and the old, tall, beautiful houses, and you could go over there or you could turn left and walk along the quais with the length of the Île St.-Louis and then Notre Dame and Île de la Cité opposite as you walked."

Looking toward the Île St.-Louis
This was particularly meaningful, as the Île St.-Louis was our home away from home during the Left Bank Writer's Retreat. There are two islands in the river.  The Île St.-Louis is an island behind the Île de la Cité on which the city was founded, and on which sits Notre Dame. There is also the Crypte Archeologique under the island, with early Roman and Gaul ruins.

Notre Dame from the rear
He continues ~ "In the bookstalls along the quais you could sometimes find American books that had just been published for sale very cheap." These bookstalls are still there, all along the river, and they are proudly owned by multi-generational families.

"At the head of the Île de la Cité below the Pont Neuf where there was the statue of Henri Quatre, the island ended in a point like the sharp bow of a ship and there was a small park at the waters's edge with fine chestnut trees, huge and spreading, and in the currents and back waters that the Seine made flowing past, there were excellent places to fish. You went down a stairway to the park and watched the fisherman there under the great bridge."

The Pont Neuf ~ unfortunately I balked at the idea of taking a picture of another statue,
so Henry 4th is not visible...
Under the great bridge...
Hemingway says "if the day was bright, I would buy a liter of wine and a piece of bread and some sausage and sit in the sun and read one of the books I had bought and watch the fishing." We had our farewell drinks by the Seine very near that spot. Although the fishermen are gone and Hemingway is gone (and this so near the anniversary), the sun is still good, and so is the wine. And so is the river.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Lordy, girl, I am just drinking in the sights and sounds, the smells and feel. The education, the history, the place that is Paris!!