The Seine, the river of Paris and France!

And gosh!! just realized not written much or nothing on the Seine river!! This is the best most glamorous river of France, and not just because it passes by Paris. It goes a long way thru some wonderful towns big and small and full of history and things to see.

In Paris is it just romantic, wonderful, great, gorgeous well you get it right! It has 37 bridges passing over it, and I have written a piece on the bridges of Paris in my blog, here it is. https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/11/04/the-bridges-or-ponts-of-paris/

The Seine river has a length of 777 km, which flows in the Parisian basin and covers Troyes, Paris, Rouen and Le Havre. Its source is located 446 meters altitude from   Source-Seine, in Côte-d’Or dept 21 Burgundy, on the plateau of Langres. Its course has a general orientation from the southeast to the northwest. The Seine throws into the channel between Le Havre and Honfleur. Its watershed, with an area of 79 000 km2, is of interest to nearly 30% of the country’s population.

The Seine is divided into five parts, upstream in Aval: The little Seine, from the source to Montereau-Fault-Yonne (confluence with the Yonne);  La Haute Seine, from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris; The crossing of Paris; The Basse Seine, from Paris to Rouen; and The Seine maritime, from Rouen to La Manche.

The artificial lake of the Orient Forest, up Stream of Troyes, and the lake of Der-Chantecoq upstream of Saint-Dizier were created in the years 1960 to 1970 to regulate the flow of the river.

The sources of the Seine are the property of the city of Paris since 1864. An artificial cave was built the following year to house the main source and the statue of a nymph symbolising the river. It also houses the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple (now buried). Objects testifying of the cult to the sources of the river (Dea Sequana) are exposed to the Archaeological Museum of Dijon.

Here is a list of the main tributaries (greater than 100 km, or basin greater than 1 000 km2 or Débit medium greater than 10 m3  known to the nearest confluence direct from the Seine and located with their confluence by distance (km) with the Western boundary of the Seine estuary  : These are the  Oise Marne, Yonne, Eure Aube Loing Risle Essonne Epte,and Yerre.

The regions and departments crossed are the following, going from the source to the mouth: In the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: la Côte-d’Or;  In the Greater East region: The Aube and the Marne;  In the Île-de-France region: Seine-et-Marne, Essonne, Val-de-Marne, Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-d’Oise and Yvelines;  In the Normandy region: Eure, Seine-Maritime and Calvados (along the extreme end of the mouth).

In Paris, the floods are measured since 1876 by a hydrometric scale installed at the Austerlitz Bridge( Pont d’Austerlitz) , nevertheless it is the statue of the Zouave of the Alma bridge (Pont de l’Alma) which remains the most popular. This indicator during the flood of January 1910, water reached on this scale the record height of 8.68 meters ( I guess an ecological disaster but we never heard anything much of it ::)) . Since 1870, the height is taken at the station Paris Austerlitz. Although there have been no large floods in the last sixty years, five large floods occurred in the 20C: in 1910, 1920, 1924, 1945 and 1955. The oldest known floods of the Seine were narrated by Julien (358AD) and Grégoire de Tours (February 582AD ). The last one in May to June 2016, the Seine experienced an important flood. The water level peaks at 6.10 meters on the night of June 3 to 4. It’s the biggest flood in Paris for over 30 years. However, it does not exceed the 6.18 meters of the 1982 flood.

Paris

The Seine maritime as well as part of the lower Seine are subjected to the tidal regime, which goes up to the dam of Poses in the Eure (60 cm tidal wave). It was still possible to observe in the 1960’s an imposing wave that could reach 4 meters at the time of the great tides and called Mascaret, more locally a Barre. The phenomenon reached its maximum in Caudebec-en-Caux, about halfway between Le Havre and Rouen.

For Mariners and river Navigation Services, the Seine is broken down into:  “Petite Seine” from Marcilly-sur-Seine to Montereau-Fault-Yonne; “Haute Seine” from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris;  “Seine parisienne” inside Paris; “Basse Seine” from Paris to Rouen; and  “Seine maritime” from Rouen to the sea.

The Seine is navigable on a large part of its course. The responsibility for navigation belongs to the waterways of France (VNF) until  Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, and in particular to the navigation Service on the Seine upstream of Amfreville-sous-les-Monts. On the other hand, it does not include the Parisian canals (Canal de Ourcq, Canal Saint-Denis and Canal Saint-Martin) which are managed by the city of Paris.

Paris

Between Rouen and Paris, the Seine was channeled in the 19C. Seven lock dams located in Poses-Amfreville-sous-les-Monts, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne (Eure), Méricourt, Andrésy, Bougival, Chatou (Yvelines) and Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine) allow the navigation of self-propelled barges (350 tons of freight) Self-propelled Freicinet  template boats  of 38.5 meters, self-propelled river barges (from 800 to 1 350 tons of cargo), 48 to 70 meters, thrust barge convoys (3 000 to 10 000 tons  freight) and Sea-River coasters (4 000 tons of freight). These barges carry, among other things, containers, automobiles, petroleum products, cement, etc.

Suresnes

The port facilities located in Île-de-France belong to the autonomous port of Paris, the first French river port. The main port facilities for freight traffic are located in Limay (Yvelines) and Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine).

The Seine has inspired many painters, and in the19C and 20C , Honoré de Balzac described the Seine from every angle. Gustave Flaubert uses the Seine as a metaphor for the linear flow of time, the symbol of narrative progress. Many poets, French and Francophone, sang the Seine. All too numerous to mention but huge names of all times.

More into Paris proper, the Seine cuts Paris in its midst even if the right bank(rive droite)  occupies a space more important than the left bank( rive gauche). In Paris, its length occupies nearly 13 km, with a depth varying between 3.40 and 5.70 meters. Its width varies from 30 to 200 meters. The normal holding of the reach of Paris, i.e. the altitude of the surface in relation to the sea level, is about 27 meters. In Paris, the Seine is crossed by 37 bridges, including four footbridges accessible only to pedestrians. See my post on bridges of Paris above.

Paris

The course of the Seine is dotted with many sights. Near Paris a springs from the Seine to Source-Seine; Châtillon-sur-Seine with the numerous tributaries of the Seine, its ancient streets and the Vauclusian source of the Douix; Troyes and its ancient city center with its Churches and Cathedral; Moret-sur-Loing, which is close to the confluence of the Loing with the Seine and the painters; Thomery and the Forest of Fontainebleau; Paris, and the  the banks of the Seine.

Outside Paris we have Bougival and its Frog Park (parc de la Grenouillére)  on the island of Bougival (île de Bougival) , whose extension is the island of Chatou (île de Chatou) ; Chatou and its Maison Fournaise, rendezvous of the Impressionists and often painted by them;  Saint-Honorine and the Musée de la Batellerie (river boat building) (Yvelines); Poissy and its 12C Collegiate Church, where King St. Louis (Louis IX)  was born and baptized; Mantes-la-Jolie and its 12C Collegiate Church; La Roche-Guyon and its castle (Val-d’oise), where the comic writer Edgar P. Jacobs has located one of the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, The Diabolical Trap; Giverny and the House of Claude Monet (Eure); The Andelys and the Château-Gaillard; Rouen, the medieval town (Seine-Maritime);  Caudebec-en-Caux and the Church of Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux, masterpiece of flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance; The Tancarville Bridge; The Pont de Normandie; Honfleur and its port; Le Havre rebuilt by the architect Auguste Perret after WWII.

Mantes La Jolie

The wonders of the Seine river even beyond Paris. It is good to take a cruise ride beyond the city into the dept 77 Seinte-et-Marne or to Rouen in Seine-Maritime dept 76.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Seine from the city of Paris https://www.paris.fr/services-et-infos-pratiques/environnement-et-espaces-verts/nature-et-espaces-verts/la-seine-2406

The boat companies on the Seine by Paris: http://www.vnf.fr/vnf/directorySearch.vnf?action=search

Navigation maps of rivers of France: http://www.vnf.fr/sigfed/carto/

Tourism navigation on cruises etc on the Seine river : http://www.bassindelaseine.vnf.fr/croisieres-fluviales-les-escales-sur-l-axe-seine-a851.html

You have it all, now enjoy the Seine river, a magical body of water on a magical city of the world, Paris and beyond.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Seine, the river of Paris and France!”

  1. I am very happy and proud to report that we went to the source of the river Seine a few years ago and couldn’t believe that such a tiny trickle of water could become such mighty river and one of the most famous and loved in the world which carries such huge cargo ships on its back! We have stopped on many sites along its course and one of our favourites is Les Andelys, between Paris and Rouen: simply lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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