Sleeping on the Seine

First time in Paris

What happened on the Seine in Paris?

Ever since I was a young girl collecting travel guides from all over the world, I had been dreaming of France and walking along the Seine in Paris. I imagined the first moment of seeing the Eiffel Tower, attempting to speak “un peu français” with real Parisians, sitting in cafés and just simply soaking up the atmosphere!

The Seine in Paris on a clear winter's day


After arriving at the Gare du Nord on the Eurostar from London on our first trip to Paris a few years ago, we quickly headed out to do exactly that. In the afternoon, we decided to take a boat tour on the Seine. The sun was shining gloriously on this brisk and breezy day as we climbed aboard a Bateaux-Mouches vessel, sitting outside on top to get the best views.

But I was embarrassed.

On a tour boat on the River Seine in Paris, France

Sweeney, the Sleepy Tourist

For doing a very touristy thing?

Residential buildings along the Seine River in Paris

Buildings along the Seine

No. Because I dozed off. Oh, the shame!

Not long after we pushed away from the dock while gazing at the buildings along the Seine and listening to the tour narration in several languages, I dozed off. I fought off the urge to close my eyes, but ultimately lost the battle. There I was on the Seine in the City of Light for the first time — sleeping.

I guess the combination of a 4:30 a.m wake up call, the sun on my face, and a hearty lunch of steak frites was to blame.

Thanks to Mr. TWS, who you met in my previous post, Introducing Mr. TWS, I have these photos for Travel Photo Thursday. So I may have missed a few things on the boat tour, but I managed to wake up long enough to see some of the highlights along the way.

Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III across the Seine in Paris, France

Pont Alexandre III

Notre Dame

Notre Dame in Paris, France

Notre Dame

Pont au Change and the Conciergerie

Pont au Change and Conciergerie, Paris, France

Pont au Change and Conciergerie

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Eiffel Tower

Although a boat tour on the Seine in Paris is usually thought of as a first time visitor’s thing to do, I really must do it again sometime — before lunch.

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73 thoughts on “Sleeping on the Seine

  1. Sabrina

    That’s too funny 🙂 But being on a boat can really make you feel sleepy – especially after lunch. All that rocking back and forth…

  2. InsideJourneys

    Oh, the shame! I burst out laughing when I read that you fell asleep. I bet you had a good laugh afterwards. Thanks Mr. TWS for the stunning shots of Paris. Like you, I just love it. Hope you got to speak “un peu francais.”

    1. Cathy Post author

      Oui, I had plenty of opportunities to speak “un peu Français”. I usually had to apologize by saying “Excusez-moi, mon Français est si mauvais.” (Excuse me, my French is so bad.)

  3. Jeremy Branham

    Ha! That’s funny! That’s what jet lag will do to you. On my first day in Barcelona, we walked around for a few hours in the morning then went back to the room to take a nap around 1:30 pm. We woke up at 10 pm and then just went right back to sleep! 🙂

  4. John in France

    Excellent story!! On my honeymoon, my new wife and I went to a very smart hotel near Monte Carlo overlooking the Mediterranean, and on our first night (after a 30 hour flight from NZ) my wife actually fell asleep face first into her entree!!!!

  5. Abby

    Loved this!! I went to Paris on my very first trip overseas, when I was 11. When I was 22, it was the first time I took a bus day trip. It was amazing! I got to see everything… Then had the rest of the week to chill in cafes, etc. I talk about that trip all the time!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Paris deserves it’s reputation as an amazing city. I got to see quite a bit of it that first and following trips, but can’t wait to go back.

  6. Mary @ The World Is A Book

    What a great and fun story! I’m sure we can all totally understand. It’s just another reason to go back to Paris. Mr. TWS did great and if that was my husband, there would probably be some shots of me asleep with the landmarks. We did this tour too but at night and sailing right by the Eiffel tower all lit up was incredible. My son fell asleep for half of the tour too =)

    1. Cathy Post author

      I am glad that he didn’t take any shots of me sleeping. The one of me (somewhat awake) in this post looks bad enough, I think. 🙂

  7. Christopher

    It’s understandable! My first time in London I went straight to a play an hour after my 10-hour flight. I fell asleep during the performance and NO ONE woke me up. When I finally woke up, the theater was empty . . . and dark. And funny.

  8. Lisa

    Blame the jet lag! We are heading to Paris in two weeks and I have now made a note that I must not plan to cruise the Seine on the first day – the last thing I need is to fall asleep on the boat and have my teenage daughter post photos of me all over Facebook! My first overseas trip was to London and we went to a performance of Oliver the first night. I had a great deal of difficulty staying awake for the show but I learned my lesson and now we plan very little for the first couple of days in Europe.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Have a wonderful time in Paris. I’m glad my husband didn’t take photos of me while I slept. Of course, they never would have made it into this post, anyway. 🙂

  9. inka

    You don’t need to be embarassed. I took a friend from Miam over the bridges all the way to Key West, for me one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and what did he do??? Snoozing happily.

  10. Alexa Meisler

    Waking up at 4:30 am and having an awesome meal like that will definitely get you dozing off but that’s okay! I’m sure the experience was this enjoyable nonetheless. The photos are amazing! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Annie - FootTracker

    (Gasp!) I think you need to take the boat trip again….

    but don’t worry, you are not the only one. I fell asleep on the scenic bus when I was touring in Canada….never knew what happened, and no photos either to prove I ever went on that trip.

  12. Leigh

    I think the Seine cruise would be great fun and would give a totally different perspective to the city. I totally understand how you dozed off – who wouldn’t under the circumstances!

    1. Cathy Post author

      I guess it was totally predictable, but I thought I’d be able to will myself awake since I was in the city of my dreams for the first time!

  13. Courtney Mroch

    Oh no!!!!! I’m LOLing not at you but with you. I can so see this happening to me. It was brave of you to share this and show you’re human side. It makes for a fun read. One I think most travelers can relate to! And you still got some great shots!

  14. jade

    Sometimes we push ourselves so hard to see so much that Bob and I have fallen asleep several times… some during performances or lectures and tours! oops! I can totally understand falling asleep. I bet the constant low hum of the boat helped too!

  15. Nancie

    A very good reason to go back! I’ve been known to catch a few zees on bus tours…always a little embarrassing to wake up and realize you don’t know what’s going on, or where you have been.

  16. Laurel

    I so feel your pain, I fell asleep on a bus tour of Stuttgart that my now husband had thoughtfully planned. He kept waking me up so that I can see what was soon to be my new city, but I kept falling back asleep. The good news is the Seine will always be there – for when you are more awake to enjoy it.

  17. Katrina

    Yeah, I’m realizing that unless I have a chauffeur and nothing to worry about AT ALL, I have to travel slowly. If I don’t, I’m liable to fall asleep on the metro and suddenly awaken to find myself in a different country. 😉

    1. Cathy Post author

      You know, I’m usually like that, too! On a plane, for instance, I hardly ever sleep — even on a long flight. It’s just not fair. 😉

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  19. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    Oh no! It’s times like that I’m pretty happy I can’t fall asleep anywhere other than a big cozy bed. It makes long flights annoying because I can never sleep, but at least I don’t run this risk. 😉

  20. Dee Dee

    This is so funny – there is something about moving along on a nice river that would put a lot of people to sleep, even in Paris.

    And your photos are wonderful!

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