Berges de la Seine – the floating gardens

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After our recent and most enjoyable wander along the Berges de la Seine between the Orsay Museum and Pont Alexandre III, we decide to go in search of the much-vaunted floating gardens on the other side of the bridge at Port du Gros Caillou. It’s a cloudy night and I realise too late that I should have taken the Lumix and not my iPhone which explains the poor quality of the photos.

The Eiffel Tower at sunset seen from Debilly footbridge

The Eiffel Tower at sunset seen from Debilly footbridge

We take our favourite n° 72 bus on rue de Rivoli opposite the Louvre and get out at Passerelle Debilly footbridge with its wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. We walk across towards Quai Branly Museum but there are no signs of any gardens and we can’t even get down to the edge of the river from where we are.

Raised footbridge across to the floating gardens

Raised footbridge across to the floating gardens

I try to find some indication of where to go and finally consult Mary Kay’s post on Out and About in Paris, written when the islands were still in the project stage. We’ve come too far. We need to go back to Pont de l’Alma bridge. I was beginning to think we’d come on a wild-goose chase.

Rather sad looking floating gardens

Rather sad looking floating gardens

The handful of barges containing the gardens look very sad and sorry. As it’s after 6 pm, we can’t access them and the footbridge is raised. Obviously the wonderful weather this summer which has made the other parts of the Berges popular has not helped the gardens. Adequate watering, it seems, has not been scheduled.

Practically deserted area on Berges de la Seine

Practically deserted area on Berges de la Seine

You can’t eat, drink or take animals onto the gardens. Also there seems to be no shade in the daytime. I wonder exactly what they are for and if anyone uses them between the opening hours of 10 and 6. I’m also not convinced that the view of the Bateaux Mouches opposite is particularly attractive.

An intimate alcove

An intimate alcove

We keep walking towards Alexandre III bridge. Initially there isn’t much activity but after a while, we come to a more popular picnic area with vegetation forming a partial screen and little alcoves for the people sitting along the river.

The climbing wall along Berges de la Seine

The climbing wall along Berges de la Seine

A climbing wall with a few stray children comes into sight as we get closer to the bridge.

Opposite Faust's near Alexandre III bridge

Opposite Faust’s near Alexandre III bridge

I’m surprised that at 9.15 pm on a Friday night, there isn’t more activity. There are no tables left at Faust’s but fewer people sitting in front. We debate about why. I wonder whether it was the after-work crowd that we saw mid-week. Jean Michel thinks they’ve all gone to the country.

View of Berges de la Seine from the right bank

View of Berges de la Seine from the right bank

We walk across the bridge and can see crowds on the opposite bank where the restaurants are. We decide to walk home along the right bank but it’s very dark and not very interesting. We see a few people sitting in the shadows on their barges but that’s about all. Next time we’ll stay on the left bank!

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