National Geographic : 1964 Aug
morning as we headed up the Seine for Paris and the heart of France once more. We mo tored past the picturesque little port of Hon fleur, and Jumieges with its ruins of an old abbey. In Rouen we walked the marketplace where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Boatmen See a Different Paris At Conflans, where the Seine and the Oise meet, we learned why the name of this little town-unknown to most tourists-rolls often from the lips of barge people. Here clustered more barges in one port than we had ever seen-four, five, six deep along the bank. Conflans (short for Conflans Sainte Honorine), only 15 miles from Paris, sits at the hub of 188 thousands of miles of inland waterways. Barge ports are entirely different from sea ports. Here we saw no waterfront "dives." A barge port has a respectable family atmos phere. Women visit back and forth, enjoying this respite from wandering; children play in groups ashore; men sit under the trees, smoking pipes. Barging is a life families fol low for generations.* From Conflans we wound our way up the Seine to Paris. Paris! Magic name, magic city. But, oh, how different when seen from its waterways! Yankee looked in again on the houseboat quarter of Paris in Neuilly. Marvelous vari ety marked the line of floating homes. Some *See "Paris to Antwerp with the Water Gypsies," by David S. Boyer, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, October, 1955.