The SEINE (/seɪn/ SAYN ; French: La Seine, pronounced ) is a
777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway
Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at
Source-Seine , 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of
France in the Langres plateau , flowing through Paris and
English Channel at
Le Havre (and
Honfleur on the left bank).
It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as
Rouen , 120
kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far
as Burgundy , is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its
whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats
offer sightseeing tours of the
Rive Droite and
Rive Gauche within the
city of Paris.
There are 37 bridges within Paris and dozens more spanning the river
outside the city. Examples in Paris include the
Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III and
Pont Neuf , the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city,
examples include the
Pont de Normandie , one of the longest
cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links
Le Havre to Honfleur.
* 1 Sources
* 2 Course of the river
* 3 Navigation
* 4 Flooding
* 5 Watershed
* 6 Water quality
* 7 History
* 7.1 Name
* 7.2 Events
* 8 In fiction
* 9 In art
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes and references
* 12 External links
The source of the
Seine rises in the commune of
Source-Seine , about 30 kilometres
(19 mi) northwest of
Dijon . The source has been owned by the city of
Paris since 1864. A number of closely associated small ditches or
depressions provide the source waters, with an artificial grotto laid
out to highlight and contain a deemed main source. The grotto includes
a statue of a nymph, a dog, and a dragon. On the same site are the
buried remains of a Gallo-Roman temple. Small statues of the dea
Seine goddess" and other ex voti found at the same place are
now exhibited in the
Dijon archeological museum.
COURSE OF THE RIVER
Seine can artificially be divided into five parts :
* the Petite
Seine "Small Seine" from the sources to
* the Haute
Seine "Upper Seine" from
Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris
* the Traversée de Paris "the Paris waterway"
* the Basse
Seine "Lower Seine" from Paris to Rouen
Seine maritime "Maritime Seine" from
Rouen to the English
Pont de Normandie over the Seine, between
Le Havre and
Honfleur , on the
Seine is dredged and ocean-going vessels can dock at Rouen, 120
kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Commercial craft (barges and
push-tows) can use the river from
Marcilly-sur-Seine , 516 kilometres
(321 mi) to its mouth.
At Paris, there are 37 bridges. The river is only 24 metres (79 ft)
above sea level 446 kilometres (277 mi) from its mouth, making it slow
flowing and thus easily navigable.
Seine Maritime, 105.7 kilometres (65.7 mi) from the English
Le Havre to Rouen, is the only portion of the
Seine used by
ocean-going craft. The tidal section of the
Seine Maritime is
followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until
the mouth of the
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine . Multiple locks at
Chatou and at
Suresnes lift the vessels to the level of the
river in Paris, where the mouth of the Marne is located. Upstream from
Paris seven locks ensure navigation to
Saint Mammès , where the Loing
mouth is situated. Through an eighth lock the river Yonne is reached
Montereau-Fault-Yonne . From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships
can continue upstream to
Nogent-sur-Seine . From there on, the river
is navigable only by small craft. All navigation ends abruptly at
Marcilly-sur-Seine , where the ancient
Canal de la Haute-Seine used to
allow vessels to continue all the way to
Troyes . This canal has been
abandoned for many years.
The average depth of the
Seine today at Paris is about 9.5 metres (31
ft). Until locks were installed to raise the level in the 1800s, the
river was much shallower within the city most of the time, and
consisted of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy
banks (depicted in many illustrations of the period). 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. The
average flow of the river is very low, only a few cubic metres per
second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy
Special reservoirs upstream help to maintain a constant level
for the river through the city, but during periods of extreme runoff
significant increases in river level may occur.
A very severe period of high water in January 1910 resulted in
extensive flooding throughout the city. The
Seine again rose to
threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982, 1999–2000 and June 2016.
After a first-level flood alert in 2003, about 100,000 works of art
were moved out of Paris, the largest relocation of art since World War
II . Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms
that would have been flooded. A 2002 report by the French government
stated the worst-case
Seine flood scenario would cost 10 billion euros
and cut telephone service for a million Parisians, leaving 200,000
without electricity and 100,000 without gas.
The basin area is 78,910 square kilometres (30,470 sq mi), 2 percent
of which is forest and 78 percent cultivated land. In addition to
Paris, three other cities with a population over 100,000 are in the
Le Havre at the estuary,
Rouen in the
Reims at the northern limit—with an annual urban growth rate of
0.2 percent. The population density is 201 per square kilometer.
Periodically the sewerage systems of Paris experience a failure known
as sanitary sewer overflow , often in periods of high rainfall. Under
these conditions untreated sewage has been discharged into the Seine.
The resulting oxygen deficit is principally caused by allochthonous
bacteria larger than one micrometre in size. The specific activity of
these sewage bacteria is typically three to four times greater than
that of the autochthonous (background) bacterial population. Heavy
metal concentrations in the
Seine are relatively high. The pH level
Pont Neuf has been measured to be 8.46. Despite this,
the water quality has improved significantly over what several
historians at various times in the past called an "open sewer".
In 2009, it was announced that
Atlantic salmon had returned to the
Seine and Eiffel Tower
The name "Seine" comes from the Latin
Sequana , the Gallo-Roman
goddess of the river.
In March, 1314, King Philip IV of
Jacques de Molay , last
Grand Master of the
Knights Templar , burned on a scaffold on an
island in the River
Seine in front of
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris .
After the burning at the stake of
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc in 1431, her ashes were
thrown into the
Seine from the medieval stone Mathilde Bridge at Rouen
, though unserious counter-claims persist.
According to his will,
Napoleon , who died in 1821, wished to be
buried on the banks of the Seine. His request was not granted.
1900 Summer Olympics , the river hosted the rowing , swimming
, and water polo events. Twenty-four years later , it hosted the
rowing events again at Bassin d'Argenteuil, along the
Seine north of
Until the 1930s, a towing system using a chain on the bed of the
river existed to facilitate movement of barges upriver. World Canals
by Charles Hadfield, David and Charles 1986
Seine was one of the original objectives of
Operation Overlord in
1944. The Allies' intention was to reach the
Seine by 90 days after
D-Day . That objective was met. An anticipated assault crossing of the
river never materialized as German resistance in
France crumbled by
early September 1944. However, the
First Canadian Army
First Canadian Army did encounter
resistance immediately west of the
Seine and fighting occurred in the
Forêt de la Londe as Allied troops attempted to cut off the escape
across the river of parts of the German 7th Army in the closing phases
of the Battle of Normandy.
Some of the Algerian victims of the
Paris massacre of 1961
Paris massacre of 1961 drowned in
Seine after being thrown by French policemen from the Pont
Saint-Michel and other locations in Paris.
Dredging in the 1960s mostly eliminated tidal bores on the lower
river, known in French as "le mascaret."
UNESCO added the banks of the
Seine in Paris—the Rive
Gauche and Rive Droite—to its list of World Heritage Sites in Europe
Paris-Plages has been held every summer on the Paris banks
of the Seine: a transformation of the paved banks into a beach with
sand and facilities for sunbathing and entertainment.
The river is a popular site for both suicides and the disposal of
bodies of murder victims. In 2007, 55 bodies were retrieved from its
waters; in February 2008, the body of supermodel-turned-activist
Katoucha Niane was found there.
Seine was the river that
Javert , the primary antagonist of
Victor Hugo 's 1862 novel
Les Misérables drowned himself in.
During the 19th and the 20th centuries in particular the Seine
inspired many artists, including:
Richard Parkes Bonington
Carl Fredrik Hill
Johan Barthold Jongkind
Johan Barthold Jongkind
* Raimond Lecourt
* Luis F. Pinzón
Emilio Grau Sala
J. M. W. Turner
A song 'La Seine' by Flavien Monod and Guy Lafarge was written in
Josephine Baker recorded a song 'La Seine'
A song 'La seine' by
Vanessa Paradis feat.
Matthieu Chedid was
originally written as a soundtrack for the movie '
A Monster in Paris '
Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
(1884–1886) is set on an island in the Seine.
Carl Fredrik Hill, Seine-Landschaft bei Bois-Le-Roi (
in Bois-Le-Roi) (1877).
Alfred Sisley, The Terrace at Saint-Germain, Spring (1875) in the
Walters Art Museum gives a panoramic view of the
Seine river valley.
"Washhouses on Seine" (1937) by
* The department of
Seine , abolished in 1968
Seine River Steamers
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ A hand book up the Seine. G.F. Cruchley, 81, Fleet Street,
1840. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
* ^ Edwards-May, David (2010). Inland Waterways of France. St Ives,
Cambs., UK: Imray. pp. 90–94. ISBN 978-1-846230-14-1 .
* ^ Vois Navigables
France Itinéraires Fluviaux. Editions De
L'Ecluse. 2009. ISBN 978-2-916919-21-8 .
* ^ "NoorderSoft Waterways Database".
Seine river Basin, United Nations Environment Programme
Department of Early Warning and Assessment (accessed 5 June 2007
* ^ "Fearing a Big Flood, Paris Moves Art" by Alan Riding, The New
York Times , 19 February 2003
* ^ "Paris flood warning" by Rory Mulholland,
BBC News , 25 January
* ^ A B "World Resources Institute". Earthtrends.wri.org. 22
February 1999. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ Martin Seidl, The fate of organic matter in river
Seine after a
combined sewer overflow, ENPC – University Paris Val de Marne Paris
XII (France), 1997, 181 pp.
* ^ J.F.Chiffoleau. 2007. Metal contamination. the Seine-Aval
scientific programme. Quae. 40 pages
* ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2006). Water quality of fresh water bodies
in France. Aberdeen: Lumina Press.
* ^ "Radio
France Internationale –
Atlantic salmon return to
river Seine". Rfi.fr. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ Wiktionary:Sequana
* ^ A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages Vol. III by
Henry Charles Lea, NY: Hamper & Bros, Franklin Sq. 1888, p. 325. Not
* ^ In February 2006 a team of forensic scientists announced the
beginning of a six-month study to assess relics from a museum at
Chinon reputed to be the remains of Jeanne d'Arc. In 2007, the
investigators reported their conclusion that the relics from Chinon
came from an Egyptian mummy and a cat, see Butler, Declan (2007).
"Joan of Arc's relics exposed as forgery". Nature . 446 (7136): 593.
PMID 17410145 . doi :10.1038/446593a .
1900 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 17–18. (in French)
* ^ 1924 Olympics official report. pp. 165–6.
* ^ Paris, Banks of the Seine, the
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site entry from
* ^ A B Supermodel
Katoucha Niane found dead from The Daily
* ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjlf18fq2do
* Website on the