A vibrant, enchanting tour of the Seine from longtime New York Times foreign correspondent and bestselling author Elaine Sciolino.
“A soulful, transformative voyage along the body of water that defines the City of Light. Elaine Sciolino is the perfect guide to the world’s most romantic river.”
– Lauren Collins, Paris staff writer, The New Yorker
In the spring of 1978, as a young journalist in Paris, Elaine Sciolino was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river through its rich history and lively characters—a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat dweller, a famous cameraman known for capturing the river’s light. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, discovers a champagne vineyard, and even dares to swim in the Seine.
Sciolino’s keen eye and vivid prose bring the river to life as she discovers its origins on a remote plateau of Burgundy, where a pagan goddess healed pilgrims at an ancient temple. She follows the Seine to Le Havre, where it meets the sea. Braiding memoir, travelogue, and history through the Seine’s winding route, Sciolino offers a love letter to Paris and the river at its heart and invites readers to explore its magic.
Advance praise for the seine:
Every day, through the windows of my restaurant, I have the sheer pleasure of gazing down at the Seine, awed by its beauty and vitality. In her lyrical and touching book. Elaine Sciolino brings this magical river to life for everyone to experience and enjoy. She carries us on a journey of discovery -- of the river, of France, of the French people, of herself. This is the finest book I've ever read about the Seine, the river that is the most beautiful avenue of Paris, and therefore the world!
—Guy Savoy, chef and restauranteur
Anyone who, like me, loves and collects books about Paris will be grateful for this wonderful addition to the collection. It’s erudite and energetic, like the river itself. Elaine tracks it along its length, and goes to a lot of unfamiliar places- Nogent, the Ile Seguin, on barges, in grottos… and brings to life the history, customs and the present usages. I’d recommend it as a guide book as well as bedside great read. Read the story of Amandine Giraud. Read a lot of Sciolino’s own story as it emerges from her pages and her travels.
—Diane Johnson, American novelist
“This beautifully written and deeply personal book captures something profound, not just about the Seine and France, but about people’s lives, and how important rivers are to them. We are called to find both solace and pleasure in bodies of water, and so we find them in this lovely exploration of the river at the heart of France. Elaine Sciolino writes with the authority of a historian, the sleuthing skills of a journalist, and the voice of a storyteller eager to recount the tales of those who have been touched by the Seine.”
—David A. Bell, Lapidus Professor of History at Princeton