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'Bateaux mouches' on the Seine river


bateaux-mouches-2.jpgYou want to enjoy Paris at night, to see its beauty in the reflections on the night lights, but you are too tired after having walked the whole day through the city and you search for a relaxing plan? An hour cruise on the Seine river, before or after a romantic dinner will not be a bad choice.

Although they are known as 'bateaux-mouches', in translation 'fly-boats', they have nothing in common with the flies. Already in the 19th century it was a term for the cruises, the objective of which was to transport the goods or passengers from one place to another. Since the Universal exhibition in 1867 the first 'batebateaux-mouches-3.jpgaux-mouches' got to the capital of France. The naval constructor from Lyon, Michel Félizat won a tender and on the river Saône, Burgundy channel, Yonne and Seine rivers brought to Paris thirty boats produced in his workshops in the southern part of Lyon, called 'la Mouche'. From 1950 these boats started to be used for touristic cruises on the Seine.

Right from under the Eiffel tower you start your one hour sail on the Seine. You float under the Alexandre III bridge, by the building of the old train station, today known by the whole world as the impressionists museum „Mubateaux-mouches-4.jpgsée d’Orsay“, on the other side you see Louvre, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, you sail by the old shopping mall Samaritaine, you see the Concorde column, the Parisian townhall Hôtel de Ville and the night sailing ends again under the fluorescing Eiffel tower.

You pass by the anchored boats diffusing coulourful lights to the Parisian night, by the boats which in evening live with a joyful and careless life of restaurants, bars, discos, theatres, coffee places.

You get fascinated by dozens of miles of the Seine strands with thousands of bateaux-mouches-5.jpgpeople in the festal mood. Celebrating that it is Friday evening, that the work week is over or that they are on the dreamed vacation. They are sitting, talking, we catch their laughs, many of them are dancing, some of them are waving to us and we wave them back. At some places you have a feeling that one more person could not fit in the crowded strands, they are as many as the ants in the anthill.

Looking at the happiness of the innumerable crows of people by the Seinebateaux-mouches-6.jpg river I get the feeling that in spite of the fact that there are billions of us in the world, each of us thinks that he/she is the centre of the universe.

At some moments there is so little needed for having a feeling of a complete happiness. It is enough to be in a pleasant company, to have a bottle of wine, legs swinging above the Seine and the sight of the historical buildings of Paris which even after the centuries do not loose anything from their beauty.

We sail under the oldest bridge of Paris, „Pont Neuf“, known also as the bridge of lovers. Under the bridge „Pont Marie“ the guide tells us to make a wish which will get fulfilled within a year. At that moment I cannot think of any of my big wishes, nothing comes to my mind. At the moment of the weightless carelessness, on the waves of the Seine river, listening to the French chansons I do not need anything.

The cruise finishes under the illuminated Eiffel tower with a song „Aux Champs-Elysées“, and everybody on the boat sings as well.

M.D.D., Paristep