Flâneries in Paris: Sunshine and Sculptures along the Seine

Flâneries in Paris: Sunshine and Sculptures along the Seine
This is the 16th in a series of walking tours highlighting the sites and stories of diverse districts of Paris. It was clear from the briefest of glances at a map of the 4th and 5th arrondissements that a stroll looping around the Pont du Sully and the Pont d’Austerlitz was an intriguing prospect. I could take in both banks of the river, passing over the tip of the Île Saint-Louis and through the Jardin Tino Rossi, the city’s outdoor sculpture museum. Perfect for a sunny afternoon. The Sully-Morland metro station seemed the place to start. Within minutes, halfway across the Pont de Sully, arresting Paris views opened up on both sides. To my left, the Tours Duo, proving that Paris, shy of new skyscrapers lest they spoil the city’s beauty, is willing to take the odd risk. Being lopsided, one seemingly threatening to topple into the other, these towers catch the eye straight away. Their height is a factor too, the larger one being 180 meters. In all of the city, only Mesdames Eiffel and Montparnasse are taller. Quite jaunty, I thought, and if you’re going to build new towers, why settle for nondescript? In the distance rises the Tours Duo, a new pair of skyscrapers designed by architect Jean Nouvel, situated in the 13th in eastern Paris. Photo credit: Marian Jones And to my right, the back of Notre-Dame and an unfamiliar glimpse of another well-known sight. Just by the next bridge towered a statue of Geneviève, patron Saint of Paris. When glimpsed, as she usually is, from the other side, perhaps on a boat trip rounding Île de la Cité, she has her back to you. But from this side she is  welcoming you in. Her sculptor, Paul Landowki, had wished it otherwise, remarking “How sorry I am, when I stroll around, to see that awful pillar of my poor Saint Geneviève.” But I like the way she stands protectively atop an enormous obelisk, greeting new arrivals. It’s 1500 years since she led a prayer marathon and encouraged Parisians to see off Attila the Hun. But she’s still there, keeping a watchful eye. Statue of Saint Geneviève, the Patron Saint of Paris, created in 1928 by Paul Landowski, located on the bridge of the Tournelle, Paris. Photo credit: Yair Haklai/ Wikimedia Commons The little park accessed from halfway over the bridge is fittingly named the Square Barye, after the 19th-century sculptor, Antoine-Louis Barye, best known for his bronze animal figures. And just around the left-hand corner at the end of the bridge I came to the entrance to the outdoor sculpture park, the Jardin Tino Rossi. The information board promised a place where “culture and nature are in dialogue,” and I was soon to discover that in this pretty riverside garden there is not just artwork, but also music and dance. The quay of the Seine in the Jardin Tino-Rossi.. Photo credit: Moonik / Wikimedia commons

Lead photo credit : Dancing by the Seine on a summer's evening

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Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.