La Belle Seine

The Seine makes its grand entrance at the southeast perimeter of Paris, lifts in an eyebrow-like arc to the north, and exits the city nine miles later. Because of the high embankments constructed in the 19th century, the river is about 30 feet below street level, making Paris, in effect, a two-story city. In recognition of the monumental architecture that borders the river, the banks between the Pont d’léna and the Pont de Sully were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

Statue of Liberty

The 36-foot replica from 1889 on the Île aux Cygnes was a gift to the city from Americans living in Paris.


There are 199 houseboats moored in Paris. Many are old, converted barges known as péniches.

Eiffel Tower

The iron structure was built for the 1889 Paris world’s fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

The toast of Paris in the 1920s, dancer-singer Josephine Baker strolled with her pet cheetah.

Place de la Concorde

The guillotine that beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793 stood here.

Les Berges

In 2013 nearly a mile and a half of expressway along the Seine was closed and turned into a riverside walk.

Musée d’Orsay

A former railway station, it now showcases art of the early modern era, particularly Impressionism.


Bookstalls have been a fixture on the banks since the mid-16th century. There are more than 200 today.


Built as a fortress in the 12th century, it became an art museum in 1793. It is the home of the “Mona Lisa.”

Les Halles

A drunk F. Scott Fitzgerald and friends went here in a taxi and tossed 100-franc notes out the window.

Paris Plages

Each July and August sections of the river’s banks are transformed into beaches, with palms and sand.

Vikings in Paris

Arriving by warship in 885 and 886, Vikings besieged Paris with fire and catapults. The city held until one bridge collapsed, but then Paris paid off the raiders, who continued to Burgundy.

Matisse’s Studio

Post-Impressionist painter Henri Matisse lived at 19 Quai Saint-Michel in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When he married, he rented an apartment facing the Seine and used the views for inspiration.

Petit Pont

The current stone span from 1853 marks the site of Paris’s earliest known bridge, on the main Roman north-south road through the city, the cardo maximus. Just 101 feet long and 65 feet wide, it is Paris’s smallest bridge.


Part of the University of Paris, this is the heart of the Latin Quarter; into the 1700s studies were done in Latin.

Shakespeare and Company

American Sylvia Beach founded the original bookstore in 1919. It became a hangout for writers like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. The shop was reborn in another location under the same name in 1951.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Thoroughly Gothic, the first stone was laid in 1163; construction continued into the 1300s.

Jardin des Plantes

A medicinal garden in the 17th century, it is now a public park with fountains and flamingos.


Citizens stormed the fortress on July 14, 1789, making this ground zero for the French Revolution.

Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy

This arena hosts everything from Madonna concerts to tennis matches and soccer games.
Jerome N. Cookson, NGM Staff; Shelley Sperry. Art: Zoë More O’Ferrall