Seine River | The Beating Heart of the City of Lights
The Seine river runs through the heart of Paris in northern France. It is a geographically dividing landmark that unifies the city of lights together in pride. The Seine has been a spectator to the evolution of Paris over the centuries and also the centre of many historical events in the city.
As you sail in the serene water of the Seine, you can catch a glimpse of every eminent landmark of Paris. The river banks were once the home of popular artists like Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Napolean Bonaparte. It has also been the subject of many popular impressionist paintings.
Why Visit the Seine River?
- The Seine is an integral part of the Paris landscape. Exploring the city through tours and cruises on the river gives a visitor a completely new perspective of the city.
- Most of the popular buildings and structures in Paris can be seen from the river and the viewpoint also gives insights into the city’s history, growth and architecture.
- The banks of the Seine are recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its cultural essence makes it a perfect place for a relaxing stroll while immersing yourself in the romantic Paris atmosphere.
Where is the Seine River Located?
Seine River is in northern France that runs 777 km. It starts from the region 30 km northwest of Djon and eventually joins the English channel. The Seine flows right through the city of Paris like a bending arc and diving the city into two parts. Its depth varies along the course but in Paris, an average depth of 9.5 m is maintained. The Seine is also only 24 m above sea level and this makes it easily navigable and a slow-flowing river.
Starting point: Source-Seine (30km northwest of Djon)
Ending point: The English channel
Things To Do on the Seine River
Walk on the famous bridges of the Seine
Many bridges connect the banks of the Seine in Paris and each one is unique for its incredible features and history.
The Pont-Neuf connects the banks with the Ile de la Cité and is one of the oldest bridges in the city built by King Henry III.
Pont Alexandre III is considered the most magnificent bridge in Paris with ornate sculptures and lamps, connecting the Champs-Élysées with the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides.
The Pont des Arts or the Love-Lock Bridge is known for lovers placing heavy metal locks as a symbol of unbreakable eternal love. It is now forbidden by French law to preserve the structure but it is a beautiful pedestrian pathway that connects the left bank to the Louvre Museum.
Brief History of the Seine River
Evolution of Paris on the Seine
Over two thousand years ago, a Celtic tribe Parisii established a fishing village on an island of the Seine, Ile de la Cité where Notre Dame Cathedral stands today. This location on the Seine came with a valuable trading route that connected the English channel to the modern-day Djon. Over the centuries, as the Parisii prospered, the small riverside village flourished into a significant trade port and stood as Paris, one of the largest cities in Europe.
Bridges and water supply
The Romans built the first bridge across the Seine in the 1st century AD and named it the Petit Pont. It is recognised as the oldest standing bridge and has gone through multiple renovations over the centuries. Thirty-six other bridges have been built over the Seine but this is the only one that retains its original name.
As a major water supply source, a water pump known as Samaritaine was built under the Pont-Neuf in 1608 and it supplied water to the Louvre until 1813.
How did the Seine get its name?
The Seine gets its name from the Celtic goddess, Sequana, who was believed to have inhabited the sacred source of the river. The name is also associated with the Latin word sequor which means ‘I follow’ and the Proto-Indo-European sequence seik which implies ‘to flow’ or ‘to pour out.’
How to pronounce 'Seine'?
The Seine is pronounced as 'sehn'. It is, however, a common mistake to mispronounce the name of the river as 'sane'.
Plan Your Visit to the Seine River
The best time to visit the Seine river is in the months of April-June and October-November. You can enjoy the pleasant weather and have unforgettable experiences on the Seine River Cruises.
The Seine River Cruises generally operate from 12 PM to 9 PM every day. The duration depends on the tour your choose and lasts for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Enjoy delectable French cuisine and drinks while having a stunning view of the Seine. Here is a list of riverside restaurants you can look for in Paris:
- Le Calife
- Le Bistro Parisien
- La Balle au Bond
- Restaurant OFF Paris Seine
- Don Juan II - Yachts de Paris
- Restaurant Guy Savoy
- Le Fumoir
Here is a list of hotels offering you a comfortable stay with a lovely view of the Seine from your window:
- Seine river is always open for visitors. Make sure you take a leisurely stroll along the river banks for splendid views of the city landscape as well the romantic Paris aesthetic.
- June-August is the peak season for Sein River activities.
- Seine River Cruises are a highly popular attraction. Make sure to book your tickets and tours in advance for the cruise of your liking.
- A Parisian picnic is a must-do for any tourists to soak up the riverside serenity along with family or friends.
Interesting Seine River Facts
- The Seine river banks have been recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Site for their cultural significance.
- The Seine flows through Paris dividing the city into Left bank and Right bank. Its total length is 777kms.
- There are 37 bridges in Paris, over the Seine. Three of them are pedestrian and two are railway bridges.
- The Seine is the primary source of water for half of Paris making it the heartbeat of the city.
- Olympic games like swimming, rowing and water polo events were hosted in the Seine during the 1900 Summer Olympics.
- After Joan of Arc, the heroine of France was burnt at the stake in 1431, her ashes were thrown into the Seine river.
- There are two inhabited islands on the Seine, Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Seine River in Paris
The Seine is the most famous river in France that flows through Paris, dividing into two halfs. It runs for 777 kms and is an important cultural landmark of the city.
No. The Seine river is open for visitors every day.
The Seine is a 777km long river, originating from northern France, and flows through its capital city of Paris.
The Seine river passes through the French capital city, Paris.
The Seine river is known for varying in its depth throughout its course. However, in Paris, its average depth is 9.5 m.
The Seine river starts in the region 30km northwest of Djon called the Source-Seine and pours into the English channel at the end of its course.
No. Swimming or diving into the river has been banned in Paris since 1923 due to the water currents, boat traffic and water quality.
You can get the best views of the Seine from the three famous pedestrian bridges in Paris. The Seine River Cruises are also a great way to explore both the river and the landscape of the city. You can also head over to the Square du Vert Galant park for scenic views of the Seine.
Yes, there are ample dining options around the Seine river that offer delicious French Cuisine with a stunning view of the river. Some options are Le Calife, Le Bistro Parisien and Le Fumoir.
Among the 37 bridges in Paris, the Pont-Neuf, Pont-Alexandre III and Pont des Arts are the most famous and magnificent ones in the city.
Seine River Cruise is a popular attraction. Hence, make sure to book your tours and tickets in advance for a pleasant and fun experience. You can book your preferred option for Seine River Cruises here.