Sunset on the Seine

On a clear summer evening you could do worse than to join the many Parisians and visitors for a stroll along the banks of the Seine at sunset.

I took this first photo in 2007 from the bridge called Pont de la Tournelle, looking towards Notre-Dame Cathedral. By coincidence this is the same view that was described by the nineteenth-century French poet Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) in his poem Soleil couchant — although he had a large flaming cloud in the sky, which I didn’t. (I’ll try again next summer.)

En passant sur le pont de la Tournelle, un soir,
Je me suis arrêté quelques instants pour voir
Le soleil se coucher derrière Notre-Dame.
Un nuage splendide à l’horizon de flamme,
Tel qu’un oiseau géant qui va prendre l’essor,
D’un bout du ciel à l’autre ouvrait ses ailes d’or,
Et moi, je regardais toujours, ne songeant pas
Que la nuit étoilée arrivait à grands pas.

(While crossing the Tournelle Bridge one evening, I stopped for several moments to see the sun setting behind Notre-Dame. A splendid cloud on the flaming horizon, like a giant bird getting ready to fly, opened its golden wings from one end of the sky to the other. […]  And me, I kept on looking, not thinking that the starry night was approaching with great strides.)

Excursion boat on the Seine at sunset, 2007

The bridge in this photo is Pont Louis Philippe, and I took the photo looking downstream from Pont Marie.

People sitting by the Seine at night

Here I was looking upstream from the left bank, not far from Pont Sully.

My photos in this post are from 2007. I revised the text in 2023.

See more posts on Paris bridges.
See also: Dancing by the Seine.

19 thoughts on “Sunset on the Seine”

  1. Beautiful photo. In all our trips to Paris we’ve never seen Notre Dame at sunset. We have seen it at sunrise a few times and that is also magical, perhaps more so because the river is absolutely still, a perfect mirror, and it’s all very quiet with very few people about.

  2. What a stunning post! The Seine, a sunset, and a French poet combine to transport me back to my very happy memories of Paris. After all, my love affair with France began in the capital!

  3. Ah yes, the Seine is beautiful at sunset and in the early evening. When we were in Paris in 2021 we had a drink one evening at one of the boat bars on the Right Bank that have sprung up now that side is pedestrianised – wonderful setting! You’ve reminded me we should go back this year 🙂

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