My Travel Blog

Paris The City of Lights – A Stay Unlike Any Other

Our grand entrance into the City of Lights was not what we had hoped for.  There’s a traffic control system on the Seine just before the Ile de la Cite.  It is designed to control the commercial barges and tourist vessels around the island where the Notre-Dame Cathedral is located.  Pushed by a strong current we basically ran a red light, and someone called the cops.  They were on top of us faster than you could say, “Sacre Bleu.”

“Our grand entrance into Paris.”

Despite plenty of interaction with the French law enforcement community these past five months the Gendarmes and local police were always friendly and polite.  With lights flashing and sirens blaring the Parisian harbor police maneuvered their high-speed vessel up to Rabelo, and four uniformed officers climbed aboard.  The head cop politely asked for our papers, and wanted a phone number where we could be reached while in Paris.  Once all of our paperwork was carefully reviewed he handed us a one-page note and bid us, “Adieu.”  When Wilco asked if there was a fine the cop smiled and said, “No fine, just don’t run the red light again.”

“Boarded by the Paris Harbor Police.”

After breathing a long sigh of relief we continued our leisurely cruise down La Seine passing by Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and D’Orsay Museums.  We sailed under the Pont-Neuf Bridge.  Despite its name it is the oldest of the 37 bridges in Paris built in 1607.  The majestic Tower Eifel came into view as we made our way into the heart of this magnificent city.

“Entering Paris”

“The Musee d’Orsay.”

“Artwork on the bridges of Paris.”

“Tower Eifel coming into view.”

“More bridge artwork.”

Metropolitan Paris has a population of over 12 million, and just one marina for transient pleasure craft.  Unfortunately the Arsenal, as it’s called, can only take vessels up to 24 meters.  At 38 meters we knew it would be a problem finding a place to park, but we figured we could work something out.

Eventually we found a large open quai just downstream from the Grenelle Bridge.  It was perfect, close to town with water and possibly even power.  Alas it was too good to be true.  Our friends from the Harbor Police came over and told us we had to move.  We asked where we could tie up, but they didn’t know of anyplace.  They said we would have to call the Port Authority.  We asked the nice cop if he had their number.  He didn’t, but said he would try to get it for us. It took a while, but ultimately we were able to speak to a woman at the Port Authority Office.  There was another open Quai just before the Bir-Hakim Bridge that I had checked out, so we asked if we could stay there.  Wilco wasn’t sure if the woman said it would be okay or that she would call back.  We moved Rabelo to this perfect mooring less than a half mile from the Eifel Tower, and waited.  It was Friday afternoon, and when five o’clock rolled around and the woman hadn’t called we figured we had it made.  Were we ever wrong.

“Not a bad place to tie up in Paris.”

“A view from our kitchen window in Paris.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.