From the first glance the River Seine in Paris may just look like a plain river which runs through Paris, but it happens to be much more than just that, having turned into a major tourist attraction and a landmark with many fantastic bridges, two islands within it and much more.
The River Seine has always been a major and prominent river even before the City came to life. Dating right back to when the first Parisii tribes settled their fishing villages close to the river as well as when the roman Empire took over the river for the reason it had become a highly valued commercial waterway.
Yet surprisingly the river is only around 24 meters above sea level and in places only 8 meters deep, making it a slow flowing river which is also easily navigated, and even to this day provides Paris with water.
The river divides the city into two; known as the typical left and the right. The settlers first stayed around the Right Bank but it wasn’t until the Roman Empire times that Paris had started to grow and eventually expanded to the Left Bank as well.
To identify the different sides you can look downstream at the river to see that the side on the left bank is left and the same for the right, making it easy to understand no matter where you are in the city for this reason.
Where the river forks within Paris, it has a couple islands at the middle, which is known as Ile Saint Louis and the other being Ile de la Cite, which is also known as the very centre point of the City of Paris.
On the left hand side of the river you can find many famous and often visited landmarks in Paris, including the Musee d’Orsay located in an old railway station and famous Eiffel Tower along with other landmarks such as the Les Invalides with the Tomb of Napoleon.
On the other side of the River Seine you can see the most famous of all museums in Paris, which was a former palace called The Louvre, as well as the incredible Champs Elysees avenue, the Sacre Coeur Basilica in the distance and more.
Although, there are many impressive monuments in Paris which are found right beside the river, including on the Ile de Cite island where you can find the La Conciergerie which was a palace which later turned into a prison during the French Revolution as well at the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral on the same island.
In fact despite the river you can easily cross it with 32 bridges going across the River Seine to access the other side as well as the monuments, whether it be while on bus tours like l’Open Tour or via foot on a bridge such as the Pond des Arts or by the oldest bridge named Pont Neuf, which can also be spotted in various films over the years.
Quays along the river bank are also easy to find and get to, with walkways and cycle paths as well as picnic areas and the possibility to sunbathe on a nice day where you can find many great spots. Or if you prefer you can jump onto a canal trip or boat trip along the river.
As it can be seen there are many things to do along the River Seine, not forgetting there is also a Batobus which is a bus that stops along the water at various Quays so you can find some of the major tourist attractions in Paris along the water.
Cruises along the water route is also a favourite tourist attraction, and one tour firm which happens to be one of the oldest, Bateaux Mouches, can provide dinner cruises on traditional boats and others which can offer different river tours in Paris ranging from gourmet French cuisine or even longer trips which can be from Paris to Le Havre and travelling on the Eurostar to return to Paris.
A couple of places you can visit on the River Seine include the Chinese Junk called the Lady of Canton formally known as the Cabaret Pirate which hosts shows and concerts for all ages, as well as another place for night entertainment and DJs is at an old lighthouse boat called the Batofar.
Or for something different you can take the chance to go swimming. Not in the River but on it instead where you can find a barge moored to the side where Piscine Josephine Baker is, allowing you to have a swim all year around which has a cover for days that are not as pleasant.
The Paris Plage was the original reason why the swimming pool was made, and the Paris Plages itself are a major highlight during August where a part of the banks are turned into beaches with tonnes of sand, palm trees, numerous activities, deckchairs and more. Ideal for any age to go and relax, let the children build sandcastles, do some sports or perhaps catch a bit of a tan and these have become another of the major tourist attractions in Paris for both residents and people on holiday in Paris.
Now for something a little different, as here are some unusual facts about the River Seine which you may not have known.
The river begins just outside of Dijon within the Burgundy region and then travels north west through Troyes, followed by eventually getting to Paris.
The river is in fact the second longest river in France with a total length of 776km, with the mouth of the river at the English Channel between both Haute Normandie and Basse Normandie where the river ends.
Many ocean worthy ships can travel through the River Seine from the English Channel right towards Rouen. Although commercial river boats can head further to roughly 560km from the mouth.
Originally, the water level of the Seine used to fluctuate quite a lot, but since the 1800’s locks were installed to be able to combat this problem and since then the water levels have been closely watched to try and prevent major floods like in the past.
From between Rouen and to the mouth of the river Oise there are four locks to help, with an additional two locks at Suresnes which lift the commercial vessels and other boats up to the water level of Paris.
As it was said before, trading via the river was very popular, and for this reason it was also linked by canals to the River Loire, River Rhone and the River Rhine which aided in making the trading business even more prolific.
But these are just some of the incredible little tidbits you can find on the River Seine, meaning it is a great way to relax and enjoy yourself if you decide to go on holiday in Paris.