That's Elaine Sciolino's new book, The Seine: The River That Made Paris. Paris-lovers may remember her recent book The Only Street in Paris, about the Rue des Martyrs. A former New York Times bureau chief who has lived in Paris for many years, she takes the reader on a symbolic journey from the river's headwaters in Burgundy to its estuary at LeHavre, including history, scenery, and legends. The central part of the book focuses on the river in Paris, with chapters on swimming, songs, lighting at night, fishing, the lives of barge operators, photography, the river police, floods, the bookstalls, and other topics. I found some of this fascinating, and some a bit TMI. But I really enjoyed the chapters about the river upstream and downstream from the big city, including what's known about Sequana, the Roman-era goddess whose temple was near the headwaters.
In a final chapter written after the 2019 fire that almost destroyed Notre Dame, she describes the fire and how it was extinguished in the nick of time, thanks to river water pumped by a fireboat that raced to the scene. "The holy waters of the river that once bore the name Sequana saved the greatest cathedral in the world," she concludes. "I want to believe that the spirit of the goddess Sequana herself lives on."
Highly recommended for any Francophile or anyone who might become one. Amazon has the book but of course it's for sale elsewhere and was available in my public library.