At water level, some 30 feet below street level, the river is
bordered--at least on those portions not transformed into
expressways--by cobbled quays graced with trees and shrubs.
From street level another line of trees leans towards the water.
Between the two levels, the retaining walls, usually made of
massive stone blocks, are decorated with the great iron rings of a
past ages commerce and sometimes pierced by mysterious
openings (water gates for old palaces or inspection ports for
subways, sewers and underpasses). Here and there the wall is
shawled in ivy.
The old buildings, the riverboats, the changes of colour reflected
by the water, the gardens, and the 32 bridges (many of them
handsome) compose one of the worlds grandest, yet most
endearing cityscapes. Along the river are two of the great set
pieces of urban spectacle in the contemporary world. The first
sweeps down from the Palais de Chaillot on the Right Bank,
crosses the river to the Eiffel Tower, and continues through the
gardens of the Champ-de-Mars to the 18th-century Ecole
Militaire; the other begins at the Seine and marches up a broad
esplanade to the golden dome of the Invalides.
Thanks to the BMW Foundation, the WebMuseum mirrors, partners and contributors for their support.