Tuesday, 10 January 2017

I had just stepped off a magnificent péniche Luxemotor Dutch barge, moored right in the heart of Paris and was still under it’s charm! Perhaps more accurately described as a luxury motor yacht this residential barge was once owned by the artist Christo and the interior is a feast of taste, style and charm. With my senses overflowing I walked out into the Paris sunshine and decided it was a good day for a walk by the Seine.

Leaving the Arsenal Yacht Basin behind I set off for a four kilometre walk down stream via the Pont de Sully and my first surprise was a fishing tackle shop! Right in the middle of Paris is the “Maison de la Mouche” . Yes “Street Fishing” is all the rage and many species are coming back to the river including salmon, perch, pike and catfish, with the biggest catfish caught in Paris measuring a whopping 2.5m long! As I crossed over the Seine to the, “Left Bank” I came to the Institute of the Arab World and found what appeared to be a full size sailing boat “moored” on the tarmac outside. The “felouque” is part of the Sinbad to Marco Polo exhibition open until 26th February 2017.

Institut du Monde Arabe – 1, Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard – 75 005 PARIS

Entry is just 12€ and makes a fascinating visit for navigators of all persuasions.

From here I leave the hustle & bustle of Paris behind and step down to the quayside . Quai de la Tournelle with its “on line” moorings and boats of all styles enjoying a picture postcard setting. As I continue down stream I pass by the world famous Tour d’Argent restaurant. THE restaurant! Menu “extraordinaire” wine list “exceptionnelle” and ........ bee hives on the terrace. Zut alors! Incroyable! We will come back to this establishment (and others) in future articles in collaboration with gastronome, writer and “Boatshed fan” Monsieur…. Ah ..... well that’s for another article!

As I descend past the Ile St. Louis I see a gigantic passenger boat from the famous Compagnie des Bateaux Mouches. 60m long and 1000 passenger capacity. The “Coche d’Eau” glides majestically past and I can’t help wondering how Graham must have felt piloting these floodlit giants around the city. Next I come across the “bouquinistes”. The famous book sellers with their stalls permanently set up on the left bank by Ile de la Cité. However, it’s not the book stalls that attract my eye but two gorgeous models being photographed down by the river. Citroens DS to be precise and both rare soft top “models” too! Speaking with the photographer he tells me they are part of a collection of 57 soon to be auctioned and they are preparing the catalogue. Ah yes the banks of the Seine are regularly used for photo shoots, films shoots and TV scenes. For now my photo shoot is coming to an end near the Louvre Palace. Some say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. Some call it the City of Light. Whatever you think, Paris is certainly a cocktail of history, architecture, culture and the unexpected. A must see and of course, we think it’s best to arrive is by boat!

Pascal GAETAN Boatshed PARIS