December 17, 2017

Oh La La, La Seine!

It is no mistake that most of the world’s largest cities are located along major rivers. As our ancestors explored new areas they settled along rivers which offered them food, water, transportation, trade and more.

Among these grand European rivers are the Thames, the Danube, the Volga, the Rhine and madam La Seine!

Seine View Paris France

Seine View by polarjez, on Flickr

The 2nd largest river in France is 482 miles long and traverses through some of the most wonderful French landscapes before reaching the English Channel.  The Seine’s humble beginnings are about 19 miles northwest of Dijon deep in the Burgundian wine area. From here it meanders through or near Troyes, Fontainebleau, Paris, Giverny and Rouen before reaching the 6 mile wide estuary separating Le Havre and Honfleur.

Giverny France

giverny 2009 by ho visto nina volare, on Flickr

Outside of the large cities, a journey along the Seine passes Gothic cathedrals, battlefield remnants of past wars, tiny hamlets, forests that were the playground of Kings and rolling countryside with superb scenery.

The Seine is navigable by ocean vessels 75 miles inland to Rouen, by commercial river boats to Burgundy and can be enjoyed for recreational purposes along most of the length.

A series of locks keep the Seine at an even depth of 9 ½ meters and helps avoid catastrophic floods like the one in 1910.  However, even with these precautions, severe storms can cause the river to rise threatening villages, farmers and the billions of dollars of artwork located in Paris.

River Seine Paris France

vue Paris depuis Notre-Dame by Myrabella

At times the Seine has been described by historians as an “open sewer”.  Today the water quality has improved but the sewage system of Paris can experience failures during heavy rainfall allowing untreated sewage to seep into the river.  Despite this, in 2009 the Atlantic salmon returned to the Seine!

Even though the Seine passes many villages and cities, it seems to be synonymous with the capital of France, Paris! Just about everywhere you turn in Paris is a reminder of the importance the river has played in the city today and yesterday.  From the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay and many other priceless wonders, history abounds near the river! So important is the Seine to Paris, that in 1991 both the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Europe.

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides Paris France

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides by Benh

In Paris alone, there are 37 bridges that cross the river. The Pont Neuf, the oldest, dates back to 1607.  I’m sure every visitor to Paris walks across at least one of these beautifully romantic bridges!  Or even passes under them during a wonderful tour along the Seine.

The Seine has been the subject for many artists including Claude Monet.  From his home in Giverny, Monet drew upon the Seine for his inspiration. Many of these important artworks can be seen in the cathedral at Rouen.

Rouen is another important city along the Seine.  Not only famous for its display of artwork inspired by the Seine but for being the site of the execution of Joan of Arc whose ashes were said to be thrown into the Seine after her fiery death in 1431.

Pont de Normandie Le Havre Normandy France

Pont de Normandie by François Roche

Finally at rivers end is the Seine estuary which is flanked on either side by Le Havre and Honfleur.  Here is another of the many bridges spanning the Seine.  Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, stretches between the two cities.

Pont des Arts River Seine Paris France

Pont des Arts Wikimedia Commons by Benh

Although we tend to view the Seine as a tourist attraction, you can see that this river is still important to France today!


How have you enjoyed the Seine?

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  1. OlinZSchlitz says:

    Good post. I definitely love this web site. Continue the good work!
    OlinZSchlitz recently posted..OlinZSchlitz

  2. Hay alguna cosa que no entiendo, voy a volver a mirarlo y
    si nó te pregunto por aquí. recently posted..

  3. transexual says:

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  4. Lynne says:

    I love the rivers and consider them places visited just as much as the cities and towns. Who does not conjure up a scene at the mention of the Left Bank?
    Lynne recently posted..The Canal du Midi

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Absolutely! I love it when you hear a word and a wonderful image pops into your mind 🙂

  5. robin says:

    Great idea – to follow one of the great rivers; you could really run with this one 🙂
    robin recently posted..El Dolor

  6. I wish I could take a river boat down the Seine! I’ve only done the Paris end, love the bridges and the general feel it gives the city. Enjoyed reading about Mme La Seine, Debbie!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..#TPThursday: Falling for YS Falls

  7. Oh, but I’d like to travel the Seine. Nice work!
    Johanna Bradley recently posted..Six word Saturday

  8. Hi Debbie, Love the Seine. Great coverage of it.
    BTW, nice to meet you! Just stumbled on your blog though Quirky Travels. LOVE it! Loved when you said: ” I am not a writer but a traveler just like you ” I’m the same. Not a writer, but just love to travel and to take photos. Looking to see more of Europe through you! recently posted..Peru: The Lares Valley Trek

  9. Lisa says:

    These are beautiful. I have only been to France once, I want to return and experienced Paris. I love the shot with the small green bridge and the boat. It looks peaceful.
    Lisa recently posted..Family Travel: Travel with a Senior

  10. Irish Catson says:

    Terrific tourist destinations. The tourist attractions in Europe are very magical and fascinating. The river makes the place heaven. The places are really amazing to visit and discover.

  11. Nellie says:

    What a very nice place! I think there are a lot of places we should explore in this world and discover how beautiful this world is..

  12. Great article! I didn’t know any of this! I’m not overly familiar with French geography, since I’ve never been, so it’s good to learn and store away the knowledge for when I finally do make it there.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..Brewery of the Month: Berkshire Brewing Company

  13. Sophie says:

    Love the Seine and all the bridges!
    Sophie recently posted..The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – the real Narnia

  14. There’s an interesting travel idea – go down the Seine in a boat from start to finish (or at least as far as you’re allowed to go.) Or take pictures from all the bridges that cross the Seine.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Your guide to the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago

  15. Gail says:

    I’m back short time ago in Paris, and I did a long boat ride along the Seine, It was a fantastic experience.
    Paris seen from the Seine is unforgettable, I recommend it to all those who have planned a vacation in the Franch capital.
    Gail recently posted..5 Top Things in New Zealand for free

  16. Michelle King says:

    Seeing this beautiful site will surely, you will be able to scream “Oh la la!”. Paris is one place I dream to visit. I want to experience how to be inlove in this place too! Thanks for sharing this amazingly beautiful photos!
    Michelle King recently posted..Acupuncture San Pedro

  17. Interesting facts! So many things I didn’t know about that lovely river.
    A Montrealer Abroad recently posted..Postcards from Ottawa

  18. Leigh says:

    I always associate the Seine with Paris and really hadn’t appreciated its’ length or the fact that it went through Giverny – a place I would dearly like to visit one spring. A very informative post with lots of well chosen photos.

  19. WOW! I had no idea so many bridges crossed the Seine. I really like all the photos you’ve once again included. You always do a nice job of that, btw. They punctuate your writing perfectly!
    Courtney Mroch recently posted..Review of “Jim Harold’s Campfire: True Ghost Stories”

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I was even surprised when I saw that number! I really like cities that have rivers running through them. It just seems to add a lot of beauty.

  20. Steve says:

    Everybody keeps saying that I have to go do a boat tour on the Seine. I’m somewhat worried that they’ve overbuilt this image in my mind and nothing short of fireworks and lasers will let it live up to the hype, but I have to confess that all the pictures I’ve seen of the Seine sure do make it look beautiful.
    Steve recently posted..Fairmont Presidents Club Free Stuff

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      The last time I was in Paris they did have lasers and a light show on the Eiffel Tower so maybe you’ll be that lucky too!

  21. Thanks for the nice tour on the Seine and history lesson. I’ve only seen the Seine in Paris, but loved how it was always nearby. The Pont-Alexandre-III bridge is so beautiful. Ah, Paris! Ah, La Seine!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..An Afternoon with George in Alexandria, Virginia

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      The bridges in Paris are beautiful! I even like cruising under them. You get a unique and up close view.

  22. Marlys says:

    Ah, yes, Paree, gay Paree… everyone loves her, everyone wants to visit her. And they should not miss having a boat ride on the Seine.
    Marlys recently posted..Easy Hiking Is Adventure For Beginners

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’ve taken many boat rides on the Seine including one at night. I can’t decide which I liked better 😉

  23. I only know the Seine from Paris, but it doesn’t make the river any less fascinating, as you beautiful photos demonstrate.
    Italian Notes recently posted..Signals from heaven

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I think most people only know the Seine in Paris! It does add a lot to the city but there is more out there.


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