Few activities scream romance quite like a leisurely walk along the Seine River in Paris, France – and these vintage photos prove that the famed waterway has been a draw for ages.

Paris, 1962

“Back then, everyone was kissing in the streets,” recalls Hans Mauli of his image of a couple embracing along the Seine. The 77-year-old Swiss-born photographer came upon the pair—possibly students, judging from the workbook at her side—close to the Sorbonne and the Boulevard St-Michel. “I leaned over the stone wall and held the camera in my outstretched hands,” says Mauli, who shot only one frame of the young lovers. Known for his black-and-white photography, he rarely used color film due to the expense. “I didn’t have much money at the time, so I often kept unprocessed film for years,” Mauli says. Though he knew he had taken a good shot, he didn’t print it until some 35 years later. Mauli, who now lives in St. Helena, California, still believes Paris is a city that inspires romance (“Everything is beautiful—the light, the architecture, the river”), but he isn’t sure there are as many displays of public passion these days: “So many people are looking at their smartphones instead of looking at each other.”. Photo: Hans Mauli
“Back then, everyone was kissing in the streets,” recalls Hans Mauli of his image of a couple embracing along the Seine. The 77-year-old Swiss-born photographer came upon the pair—possibly students, judging from the workbook at her side—close to the Sorbonne and the Boulevard St-Michel. “I leaned over the stone wall and held the camera in my outstretched hands,” says Mauli, who shot only one frame of the young lovers. Known for his black-and-white photography, he rarely used color film due to the expense. “I didn’t have much money at the time, so I often kept unprocessed film for years,” Mauli says. Though he knew he had taken a good shot, he didn’t print it until some 35 years later. Mauli, who now lives in St. Helena, California, still believes Paris is a city that inspires romance (“Everything is beautiful—the light, the architecture, the river”), but he isn’t sure there are as many displays of public passion these days: “So many people are looking at their smartphones instead of looking at each other.”. Photo: Hans Mauli

Paris, 1952

Kissing near the Eiffel Tower. Photo: Robert Capa / Magnum Photos
Kissing near the Eiffel Tower. Photo: Robert Capa / Magnum Photos
A couple embraces on the banks of the Seine. Photo: Thurston Hopkins / Picture Post / Getty Images
A couple embraces on the banks of the Seine. Photo: Thurston Hopkins / Picture Post / Getty Images

Paris, 1954

A courting couple kissing on the steps on the bank of the river. Photo: Fred Van Schagen / BIPs / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
A courting couple kissing on the steps on the bank of the river. Photo: Fred Van Schagen / BIPs / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Paris, 1957

Lovers on the quayside beside the Seine. Photo: Ernst Haas / Getty Images
Lovers on the quayside beside the Seine. Photo: Ernst Haas / Getty Images

Paris, 1961

Lovers walk past barges on the Seine. Photo: Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos
Lovers walk past barges on the Seine. Photo: Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos

Paris, 1962

A couple in a hidden nook near the river. Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum
A couple in a hidden nook near the river. Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum

Paris, 1963

Lovers on one of Paris's many bridges. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Lovers on one of Paris’s many bridges. Photo: Ian Berry / Magnum Photos

Paris, 1966

More couples have a romantic liaison on the waterfront. Photo: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos
More couples have a romantic liaison on the waterfront. Photo: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos

Paris, 1970

A couple embraces in front of the Notre Dame, Ile-de-France. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos
A couple embraces in front of the Notre Dame, Ile-de-France. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos

Paris, 1978

Kissing during the flooding of the Seine in 1978. Photo: Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos
Kissing during the flooding of the Seine in 1978. Photo: Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos

Paris, 1983

Summer on the banks of the Seine. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos
Summer on the banks of the Seine. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos

Paris, 2000

Young lovers set up camp by the water on a beautiful, clear day. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos
Young lovers set up camp by the water on a beautiful, clear day. Photo: Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos

Paris, 2005

A young couple near Notre Dame. Photo: Gueorgui Pinkhassov / Magnum Photos
A young couple near Notre Dame. Photo: Gueorgui Pinkhassov / Magnum Photos

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