Almost every human being will step foot near a lake, river, or an ocean. Most bodies of water are found in nature and miles away from a city. There are some instances, though, that bodies of water are found within a city. The City of Fullerton is the home of Laguna Lake, the City of Orange houses the Santiago Creek Recharge Basin, and the well known Santa Ana River snakes through countless of cities in Southern California. Who would think that there is room for water in a heavy populated city? It just so happens that Paris was built around the Seine River, and many people passing by the river stop and glance at the running body of water in the middle of the busy city.
Countless Parisians and tourists lay eyes on this body of water everyday. Each person observing it will have a different description of it because everyone’s eyes are unique in their own way.William Faulkner, a well known American novelist from the 20th century, stayed in Paris for some time, and he also caught a glimpse of the river during his stay. In one letter he wrote to his mother, he describes the Seine River to be the size of a “small pond.” He then goes by saying how many objects in Paris are small in size as well. I believe he describes the Seine River as a “small pond because he probably compared it to the great rivers and lakes of America. He definitely had high expectations of the river; he hoped that it would be bigger than he thought. When he saw it, he probably said, “That’s it?! It is not how I imagined it.”
I observed the Seine River completely different. He saw it as something small. I saw it as something much more grand and beautiful in person.
Our first official day in Paris consisted of a boat tour on the Seine. As we walked to our destination, we started crossing over a bridge, and I noticed the wind getting colder. I also noticed vibrant green moss covering the edges of the bridge, and a faint sound of water swaying back and forth. I peeped my head over the edge, and there was the river. Because it was my first time in Paris, I did not want to assume that it was the famous river; I ran to the front of the line to verify. Once she verified that it was indeed the Seine, I took pictures of it every so often as we walked alongside of the magnificent body of water.
So what makes the Seine grand and beautiful? Let me tell you.
First, the river is bigger than just a “small pond.” It begins at a city named Le Havre in the North Eastern part of France. It makes its way left through the country and into Paris. Then, it stops at a city called Montereau. A small part of the river can be observed in France, but it is much longer than what is seen in Paris.
Second, it is beautiful to see as well. Since it is near several tourist attractions, one cannot help but run into the Seine. Seeing the body of water first hand was a beautiful experience. The wind controls the movement of the water, and the water swayed back and forth that day. The water itself is a murky green color. I could not see the bottom of the river, but that was ok. The waters were calm, but I can see how they can become angry in an instant due to weather conditions. Squinting my eyes, I tried to look beyond the distance to see if the river ended. I saw no end.
Once the class took off on the boat tour, I noticed many characteristics of the river. Alongside of the river are famous buildings; it is also the home of many famous bridges in Paris. Some statues and monuments lay close by, and there was some art work placed in public areas next to the Seine as well.
We slithered through Paris for about thirty minutes, but we hardly ran through the same path. There was so much to see in those thirty minutes, but it was lovely to be sailing on calm waters. If Faulkner has access to a boat and toured the Seine River just as I did, I have a feeling he would have described the river completely differently. Seeing it in one spot gives you one perspective of the river, but sailing on the river is a whole new perspective.