Home on the Seine


I've always been curious about the boats moored seemingly permanently on the various quais all along the Seine, so when the opportunity presented itself I struck up a conversation with the American owners of a houseboat tied up on the Quai de Conti just upriver from the Pont des Arts (It's one of the boats shown in Gallery III). It's an old flat-bottomed Dutch fishing boat, as are many of the boats in the neighborhood. The couple told me that when they bought it several years ago it was in terrible condition -- they were more interested in the location than in the boat itself (when you buy a houseboat, you more importantly buy the parking place). But they set about restoring it and it is now quite shiny and beautiful. They live there 12 months a year with their two children, and there's room on the quay for their small car and several bicycles. It's a lifestyle they clearly love; I suspect it would take some getting used to and present its share of challenges, but on a glorious, sunny Paris spring morning I was filled with envy.