In the second part of his French canals odyssey, Howard Walker cruises up the lazy River Seine and explores the suburbs of Paris

Viewed from the heavens, or better yet Google Earth, the serpentine Seine between Le Havre and Paris looks for all the world like a giant strand of fusilli pasta.

It’s insane. There’s barely a straight stretch of water along the entire route. Hand a felt tip and sheet of paper to a sugared-up two-year-old and the resulting squiggle would be a perfect representation of the path of the Seine.

As the Cessna flies, it’s a straight-shot 90 miles. By boat, it’s a somewhat more circuitous 226 miles.

13.Snaking-SeineOften, from the lofty vantage point of the Nomade’s flybridge, I’d look across and spy some spectacular waterside château or towering spire just a few hundred feet away.

An hour or so later, we’d cruise right by it – again – as the river wandered lazily back on itself.

But this was anything but a hardship. No whines of ‘are we there yet’ or ‘can’t we go faster?’ This is river cruising at its finest.

Majestic cliffs of bleached-white chalk topped by medieval castles, stately châteaux round every bend, and ancient riverside towns and villages beckoning you in for baguettes and Brie.

22.Seine-at-Les-AndelysAnd, after all this nautical wiggling, you end up in Paris with all the breathless excitement of chugging beneath her dreamy ponts; Eiffel Tower to starboard, the Louvre and Notre-Dame to port.

I know, we’ve all taken Bateaux-Mouches trip boats with 2,000 of our very closest friends. But trust me, there’s nothing like seeing the City of Love from the deck of your own boat.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The lighter side
  3. 3. Crossing to France
  4. 4. A stop in Honfleur
  5. 5. The relaxing River Seine
  6. 6. Entering the Paris suburbs
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