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.
“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 Bell, Lapidus Professor of History at Princeton
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.