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Facts about the Seine River For Kids


It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometers northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. Over 60% 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 Louis-Philippe 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.
  • The name “Seine” comes from the Latin Sequana.
  • Some believe the ancient Gauls considered the Seine to be a tributary of the Yonne, which indeed presents a greater average discharge than the Seine.
  • Some identify the river Sikanos, origin of the Sicanoi of Sikelia (Sicily), with the river Sequana (Seine).
  • The Seine can artificially be divided into five parts : the Petite Seine “Small Seine” from the sources to Montereau-Fault-Yonne the Haute Seine “High Seine” from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris the Traversée de Paris “the Paris waterway” the Basse Seine “Low Seine” from Paris to Rouen the Seine maritime “Maritime Seine” from Rouen to the English channel.
  • The Seine is dredged and oceangoing vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 km (75 mi) from the sea.
  • Commercial riverboats can use the river from Bar-sur-Seine, 560 km (350 mi) to its mouth.
  • The tidal section of the Seine Maritime is followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until the mouth of the Oise River at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.