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