Paris : quiet morning along the Seine river


Taking photos of Paris at sunrise along the banks of Île de la Cité


Paris, France : sunrise on the Conciergerie

Though I confess I have a kind of love/hate relationship in Paris, I can’t deny the city’s given me some of my favourite photos since I’ve started taking photography more seriously.

One of my favourite places to take photos is along the banks of the Seine river around Île de la Cité, which is the most central part of Paris, and maybe its most iconic place with Notre-Dame de Paris, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, etc.

Though I have walked these banks more than a dozen of times now, I can’t get tired of the magnificent views they offer in the quiet morning, when none’s to be seen and the Seine river is still calm enough to transform into a mirror.

Here are some photos of the Conciergerie I took some months ago (I think it was around October 2018, but I can’t be sure). The sky was clearer than ever, the light was warm and golden, and the city hadn’t woken up yet from its long night.

Paris, France - Sunrise on Conciergerie
Paris, France – Sunrise on Conciergerie
Paris, France - Sunrise on Conciergerie
Paris, France – Sunrise on Conciergerie

The white walls of the Conciergerie became golden as the sun rose above the horizon. For no more than ten minutes, it looked like time had momentarily stopped. To think those walls once looked ominous as Conciergerie was one of the main prisons of Paris (Queen Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned there).

Then the wind started to rise also, and ripples grew bigger and bigger, until the reflections were gone.

Because of the brevity of such moments, I generally don’t have enough time to go to the other side of Île de la Cité, where I also like to go when I want to take photos of reflections in the Seine river. So I have to choose in advance where I want to be when the sun rises.

Here are some photos of the views you can get from the other side :

Paris, France - Sunrise on Quai des Orfèvres
Paris, France – Sunrise on Quai des Orfèvres
Paris, France - Sunrise on Notre-Dame de Paris
Paris, France – Sunrise on Notre-Dame de Paris

The view there is quite different. Of course, you can see Notre-Dame, which is the most iconic monument in Paris with the Eiffel Tower. But the light, also, is more spectacular on lightly cloudy days : it’s not rare to have pink clouds, or even bright red skies.

I sometimes think I’ll miss Paris when I leave it. Oh, I’ll certainly miss it. I’ve never been able not to miss people or places with whom I share good memories, no matter how dissatisfied I can feel with them sometimes. Paris is no exception, and I know I’ll be very happy if I ever visit it again after I’ve left it. It is really a nice place to know.

If you ever come to Paris and want to take similar pictures at sunrise, here is a map of the top spots to take pictures around île de la Cité. I hope it will be useful to you!

4 thoughts on “Paris : quiet morning along the Seine river

  1. If I had been in Paris you would have likely found me in one of these spots, Pierre — they are as beautiful as they are historic, as you say! Only once have I lucked out with water this calm, though … so for you to have both the calm Seine and the beautiful light was a real gift from the photography gods. 🙂 Your images are GLORIOUS.

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