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 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, though he had a large flaming cloud in the sky, which I didn't.
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 c'était des clartés à baisser la paupière.
Les tours au front orné de dentelles de pierre,
Le drapeau que le vent fouette, les minarets
Qui s'élèvent pareils aux sapins des forêts,
Les pignons tailladés que surmontent des anges
Aux corps roides et longs, aux figures étranges,
D'un fond clair ressortaient en noir ; l'Archevêché,
Comme au pied de sa mère un jeune enfant couché,
Se dessinait au pied de l'église, dont l'ombre
S'allongeait à l'entour mystérieuse et sombre.
- Plus loin, un rayon rouge allumait les carreaux
D'une maison du quai ; - l'air était doux ; les eaux
Se plaignaient contre l'arche à doux bruit, et la vague
De la vieille cité berçait l'image vague ;
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. . . .)
Second photo: One of the many excursion boats on the Seine River at sunset. The bridge in the picture is Pont Louis Philippe, and I took the photo looking downstream from Pont Marie.
Third photo: People sitting by the Seine at night. I took this photo looking upstream on the left bank, not far from Pont Sully.
On the left bank of the Seine at Quai Saint-Bernard between the Sully and Austerlitz bridges there is a park named after the Corsican singer and movie star Tino Rossi (1907-1983). This park was created between 1975 and 1980 by the architect Daniel Badani. Unlike most Paris parks, which close at sunset, this one stays open all night and has developed into a tremendously popular venue for open-air dancing by the riverside.
It's all free and spontaneous. Somebody brings a CD-player for the music, and anyone is welcome to join in. There are usually two or three different kinds of dancing going on in different parts of the park, the most active being the tango group. They give tango lessons in the early evening, and then all dance until late into the night.
Second and third photos: Understandably, the best tango dancers tend to be older South American couples, but people of all ages and all nationalities come to dance here.
Fourth photo: In a different part of the park, near the Institute of the Arab World, there is an area where mainly young people come to dance. (Not the tango, in this case.)
Fifth photo: A bit further upstream there is a place where jugglers and other such performers congregate. My son borrowed some juggling clubs from someone, just to see if he could still do it -- and he still can! (He used to juggle in school, but hasn't done it since then.)
Paris is known for its live music, and you can find it all over. A favorite place is along the Seine, especially the Left Bank near L'Ile de la Cite. Follow your ears, on a warm summer evening, and something good will probably turn up.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
ONE OF THE FUN AND BEST THINGS OF NIGHTLIFE IN PARIS ARE THOSE ROMANTIC WALKS ALONG THE RIVER AND AROUND THE PARKS.BUT ESPECIALLY THE LIGHTS AND THE BOATS AND THE SWEETNESS OF BEING WITH SOMEONE SPECIAL AS YOU STROLL ALONG WATCHING THE RIVER QUIETLY ESCORTING BOATS TO THEIR DESTINATIONS..
Dress Code: CASUAL AND RELAXED !!!
Bateux de Parisiene is the ultimate. I have done this about four times between 2004 and 2006, so my experience is based on this period. Its just next to Eiffel Towers. If you are facing Eiffel, turn to your left about 150 meters in the direction of ssembly Nationale. Most peak periods you need to book ahead, either through your hotel, or just walk there and make your bookings. Budget is a constrain otherwise it is worth the experience. You could do the Eifell during the day, go back to the hotel and rest, then do the Bateaux Parisiene in the evening, I prefer the 8 pm cruise as you have more time for the remaining romantic evening.
My opinion is that, if you are doing a cruise, then let it be a cruise, or nothing.
Life is short, do not do many things at a time in Paris, otherwise, you will only be on working holidays. Paris is like eating a well baked cake, ..do not take big bites, and do not rush it. Always plan for another time in Paris, as you will always have to go back.
Wishing you a fruitful visit to the city of light.
Dress Code: It is desirable to dress well.
A wonderful and romantic nighttime activity is a boat ride on the Seine. Many of the landmarks and monuments along the river are illuminated and the boat provides a perfect view. Most of the evening cruises last a little over an hour and usually take you on a route that includes the Eiffel Tower on one end and Notre Dame on the other.
Some cruises include dinner, while others are just a simple boat ride. Most will include some narration in various languages to point out the various sites along the way. Schedules vary, but the boats usually leave about every two hours, more frequently at different times of the year.
As for price, we paid $11 EU for an evening cruise in September.
Dress Code: There is no real dress code. Dress comfortably and remember a sweater or jacket if the night air is a little chilly.
Ahhh... walking the Seine at night, or as the sun sets, is an experience beyond words. Perhaps it is because you know that you are finally in Paris, and so everything you do is a cherished moment. In any event, this is one activity that can last a long time, will cost you nothing, and will create a long standing memory of your trip to Paris.
In my opinion, nothing can compare to walking up and down her banks, and across her bridges at twilight. As you take in the lights playing across the water and listening to the murmer of the passers by, you just know you are witnessing something special. Bonus points if you can take this stroll with a loved one, holding hands or having meaningful conversation along the way. My favorite view of Notre Dame was encountered at this time of day. Everything along the Seine is a sight to behold, but at night it is more dramatic, and therefore even more desirabe in my humble opinion.
Dress Code: Whatever your mood...
The area across the river from Notre Dame is a great place to enjoy an evening strolling and then picking a restaurant.
Pictured below is a night scene photo of several of the floating restaurants moored along the river. You can sit and enjoy a great meal while looking at the lit up Notre Dame and all the lighted boats that travel up and down the river.
I would go a bit early and make a reservation. We were late and had some difficulty, but were eventually seated.
I am not about to recommend a certain restaurant of this type as I would imagine that the cuisine is typically Parisian for all.
Walk across the bridge from Notre Dame and walk upriver past the book stalls. You reach these floating restaurants by the stairs along the river. There are many of them so you will be able to take look first before you decide on which one. The night we were there they had people wearing costumes of a bygone era, which made it interesting.
If you are American, expect the service to seem a bit slower. That's the way it is. Sit back and take in this wonderful experience. You're here and your friends back home aren't. Enjoy.
The second picture shows a wine bar along the street across the river from Notre Dame. You can taste wine by the glass or order food and taste. We tried the food and it was very good. The manager of this wine bar KNOWS wines of France. You can't go wrong. I told him exactly what I was looking for in taste, and he presented the wines that I was looking for. You will see the name of this wine bar on the awning in the picture. You don't need reservations. We have eaten there several different years, and each time was exceptional.
Dress Code: The dress code is fairly relaxed as long as you aren't wearing anything that other customers might find distasteful. I wouldn't go there with a t shirt, at least a button shirt for men would be best.
Not only during the day, but also in the evening Paris Plage is a lifely place to go. Lots of people are strolling along the Seine or sitting at the low walls or in the sand, bringing their drinks and snacks.
At many places there is live music, especially drumming and dancing. Mostly African drumming, but I heard and saw Middle Eastern drumming as well. I enjoyed to walk and sit there for a while and listen to the music. Close to the bridge at the Hotel de Ville it was very crowded around the drumming group, but walking in the direction of Palais du Louvre it was lifely, but now really crowded.
This was our last evening in Paris.
We thoroughly enjoyed our week! And didn’t want to leave... except maybe to get home to our own bed and space, as our hotel wasn’t the best in Paris.
We watched the sun go down and then made our way back to our hotel by walking along streets we had not walked along earlier that week.
It certainly is a lovely city, this photograph is merely a glimpse into its beauty.
Can see the beautiful historic buildings, that somehow preserve a rich past, and the river being quite compact allows you to see these from a good distance.
A very romantic feeling would be added to your evening walk around the Pompeidou Centre and The Tower.
A simply 'must-do'.
Dress Code: Smart attire
I didnt know where to put this tip,tourist trap,restaurant or off beaten path !!!
This was recommended to us as a "must do" when in Paris,dinner and a cruise on the Seine at night,so we did !!!
Again,I'd book the day before,although they do make this trip every day.
The waiters were very good,great musicand the food was wonderful,dishes ranging from King Prawns in puff pastry to fillet steak to salmon to duck pate.
Included in the price (120 euros each)was 2 bottles of wine,unfortunately I'm a bit of a phillistine as far as French wines concerned,but I figure if only costs 5 euros and you like it,then thats fine....
One thing I found annoying,was, as you're taking pictures of all the wonderful landmarks of this beautiful city,you coudn't escape the reflection of the lights inside the boat from appearing on your photos.
There a lady who goes round taknig a picture of you,frames it and tries to sell it to you 30 minutes later for 20Euros,we just asked the Brazilian couple next door to take a few for us.
Much more sociable and fun.
Dress Code: No sportswear or denims, there is a cloakroom there for leaving your coats etc in the winter.
This was my last photo of Paris on that first night !
From Tour Eiffel, me & Alain walked to the Seine River where we could see (night) boat trips on the river.
Quite a scenic/romantic view really. Not to me & Alain anyway. Just scenic to my eyes.
Nevertheless, we continued along the river & saw more nice views.
Too bad that I couldn't take any more photos as my digital batteries were running low. My lame excuse...
Best way to spend an evening and maybe even a night in Paris is to walk by the Seine with your loved one. Very romantic, beautiful scenery...
Dress Code: You could dress as you like. You don't have to please anyone but yourself... ;-)
For a romantic evening.... I recommend taking a dinner cruise on the Bateau Parisiens..
Nouvelle cuisine type of food, with flowing wine, sipping in the charm of Paris by night, accompanied by the sound of a violin playing romantic music...
Dress Code: Jacket & tie type of thing..