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The River Seine in France

The Seine is a major river of North Western France and one of its well-known commercial waterways, plus a great tourist attraction, especially within the city of Paris.

Dating back to when the Parisii tribe first established a fishing village along its banks, the waters of the River Seine have always been the heart and soul of Paris.

445km from its mouth, the River Seine is only around 24m above sea level and the average depth is only around 8m in Paris, which also makes it slow flowing and easily navigable.

The River Seine

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The River Seine in France

From Le Havre, the tidal section of the river goes to well beyond Rouen and ocean-going vessels can get 120km down from the sea to Rouen where they can dock.  The River Seine is dredged and commercial riverboats can use the river for 560km from its mouth.

Beyond Rouen there is a section that has 4 large multiple locks until the mouth of the River Oise.  There are 2 more locks and at Suresnes this lifts the vessels to the level of the River Seine in Paris, which is where the River Marne is located.

Until locks were installed in the 1800's to artificially raise the levels of the this river, the levels did fluctuate, but today, the depth is tightly controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is normally filled with water.

When Paris prospered through extensive river trading and expanded to the Left Bank in the days of the Roman Empire, the Seine became a great commercial artery, which was linked by canals to the River Loire, River Rhine, and the River Rhone.

Tourists and travellers will notice the many splendid bridges, which span the River Seine, some of them several centuries old, and the oldest of these is the Pont-Neuf, whose first stone was laid in 1578 by Henri III in the presence of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medicis.

The newest bridge called the Pont Charles de Gaulle was completed in the summer of 1996 to accommodate the ever-increasing influx of traffic, especially with the new stadium.

The Seine, is without a doubt the best-known French river in France and travels from Dijon in the Alps, through to Paris, which it cuts in half, and then onto Le Havre, where it meets the English Channel. 

This divide by the River Seine through Paris is what gives the city its distinct, geographic division.  For instance, the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d'Orsay are on the south bank, whilst the Louvre, Grand Palais, and the Concorde can be found on the north bank.  In the centre of Paris on the Ile de la Cite in the middle of the Seine River, you will find the Notre Dame Cathedral among other monuments.

And where the river forks in the centre of Paris it creates two small islands, which are called the Ile de la Cite and the Ile Saint-Louis, also the River Seine is one of Europe's great historical rivers, that attract tourists from all around the world.


The River Seine in Paris France



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