History of the Seine River

Hello everyone!!
Today is history day!
To see the part on where we were cruising down the River Seine, click the link below!
Continuing from where we last left off… 
Yes, I know that everyone hates history lesson, but…
This part here today, will be about: The history of River Seine.
Before we begin, let me warn you that this post is Super-Picture-Heavy!!
And with that, we begin…

River Seine
La Seine
Pont Marie
La Seine, or more popular as the Seine, is a famous 776 km long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It is also well-known as a popular site of attraction for many domestic and international tourists.
Pont Alexandre III
Dating back to when the Parisii tribe first established a fishing village along its banks, the waters of the River Seine have always been the heart and soul of Paris.
The river rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometers northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and finally into the English Channel at Le Havre and Honfleur – on the left bank.
Pont de la Concorde
From Le Havre, the tidal section of the river goes to well beyond Rouen and ocean-going vessels can get 120km down from the sea to Rouen where they can dock.  The River Seine is dredged and commercial riverboats can use the river for 560km from its mouth.
La Tour Eiffel
445km away from its mouth, the River Seine is only around 24m above sea level and the average depth is only around 8m in Paris, which also makes it slow flowing and easily navigable.
Musée d’Orsay
The Seine is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 km from the sea. 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.
Beyond Rouen there is a section that has 4 large multiple locks until the mouth of the River Oise.  There are 2 more locks and at Suresnes this lifts the vessels to the level of the River Seine in Paris, which is where the River Marne is located.
Until locks were installed in the 1800’s to artificially raise the levels of the this river, the levels did fluctuate, but 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.
L’Institut de France
When Paris prospered through extensive river trading and expanded to the Left Bank in the days of the Roman Empire, the Seine became a great commercial artery, which was linked by canals to the River Loire, River Rhine, and the River Rhone.
Tourists and travelers will definitely notice the many splendid bridges which span the River Seine, some of them several centuries old, and the oldest of these is the Pont-Neuf, whose first stone was laid in 1578 by Henri III in the presence of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medicis. 
Pont des Invalides
There are 37 bridges within Paris in total and dozens more spanning over 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.
Les Docks en Seine
The newest bridge called the Pont Charles de Gaulle was completed in the summer of 1996 to accommodate the ever-increasing influx of traffic, especially with the new stadium. 
The Seine, is without a doubt the best-known French river in France and travels from Dijon in the Alps, through to Paris, which it cuts in half, and then onto Le Havre, where it meets the English Channel.  
Pont Neuf
This divide by the River Seine through Paris is what gives the city its distinct, geographic division. 
Pont de l’Alma
For instance, the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d’Orsay are on the south bank, whilst the Louvre, Grand Palais, and the Concorde can be found on the north bank.  
Pont des Arts
And where the river forks right in the middle of Paris, it creates two small islands.
Notre-Dame de Paris
In the center of Paris, on the Ile de la Cite in the middle of the Seine, you will find the Notre Dame Cathedral among other monuments.
Musée de Radio France
The other island of which mentioned above, is the Ile Saint-Louis.
The River Seine has already established itself in history and that makes it one of Europe’s great historical rivers, attracting tourists from all around the world.
Origin of the name
Scene, Science, Sin, Skin no wait…Seine? 
There are several disagreements about the origin of the river’s name. 
Roue de Paris
The majority, though, agree that Seine River got its name from the Latin word “Sequana”.
However, some others also argue that it has the link to the Saone River or River Shannon in Ireland. 
Then, there are also people who argue that the word “Sequana” is the Latin version of “Issicauna” which comes from a Gaulish word for Yonne River.
Sequana is usually represented by a large bronze statue of a woman, draped in a long gown and with a diadem on her head.
She stands on a boat, the prow of which is shaped like the head of a duck. The statue is now in the Musée archéologique de Dijon.
In Gallo-Roman religion, Sequana was the goddess of the river Seine, particularly the springs at the source of the Seine, and the Gaulish tribe the Sequani. The springs, called the Fontes Sequanae means: “The Springs of Sequana” and are located in a valley in the Chatillon Plateau. 
Pont Royal
To the north-west of Dijon in Burgundy, it was here, in the 2nd or 1st century BC, that a healing shrine was established. 
The sanctuary was later taken over the by Romans, who built two temples, a colonnaded precinct and other related structures centered on the spring and pool.
Pont de Sully
Many dedications were made to Sequana at her temple, including a large pot inscribed with her name and filled with bronze and silver models of parts of human bodies to be cured by her. Wooden and stone images of limbs, internal organs, heads, and complete bodies were offered to her in the hope of a cure, as well as numerous coins and items of jewelry.
Palais Bourbon
Respiratory illnesses and eye diseases were common too and pilgrims were frequently depicted as carrying offerings to the goddess, including money, fruit, or a favorite pet dog or bird.
The course of the Seine River
The Seine can artificially be divided into five parts:
  • Petite Seine – “Small Seine”: from the sources to Montereau-Fault-Yonne
  • Haute Seine – “High Seine”: from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris
  • Traversée de Paris – “the Paris waterway”
  • Basse Seine – “Low Seine”: from Paris to Rouen
  • Seine maritime – “Maritime Seine”: from Rouen to the English channel
History of the Seine
Although the origin of Seine River name is still a bit confusing and inconclusive, Seine River has long and remarkable history with interesting facts that one can learn.
For instance, the Seine Basin was one of the earliest parts of Europe inhabited by hominids, with stone tools being recovered from the era of 500,000 to 200,000 years before present. 
Some of these artifacts, often termed Abbevillian, derive from Chelles, a present day suburb of Paris along the Seine. These early tools are attributed to our Neanderthal ancestors, rather than Homo sapiens.
Before Roman times, the Seine was used by the Gauls for navigation as well as a settlement locus. 
Then in the year 52 BC, Julius Caesar led the Roman army to a defeat of King Vercingetorix of the Gauls at Alesia; in that same year, the Romans established the colony of Leuticia on an island in the Seine. 
This island is presently known as Ile de la Cite and the labyrinthine ruins of Leuticia are readily viewable today. 
As said above, the Roman name for the Seine was Sequana, the name of a goddess and also, a river that flowed through the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. 
Danish Vikings also once used the Seine for marauding attacks that sacked numerous villages extending considerably upriver by the 870s AD.
Seine River was the river where the ashes of one of France’s greatest heroes: Joan of Arc – were thrown into in 1431, after she was burnt to death. It is said that the scattering of the ashes was done from Mathilde Bridge.
Pont d’Austerlitz
While at the mouth of the Seine near L’Havre, this area marks a key staging area where land troops from Spain were to meet with the ill-fated Spanish Armada in the year 1588. 
Due to stormy seas and harassment from the English fleet, the rendezvous was not successfully accomplished, altering modern sea supremacy.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s over the space of six years, 306 bodies were retrieved – the highest number in one day being 16. They were kept in the morgue for many years, and some were never identified.
Pont Saint-Michel
Seine River was also Napoleon’s last wish before his dead. The most famous ruler of France wished that his body would be buried on the banks of Seine River. Unfortunately, his request was never met.
During World War II, Seine River was one of the original objectives of Operation Overlord. The Allies’ plan was to reach Paris through Seine in 90 days. They made it. However, they never had to cross the river since the Germans were beaten earlier than they expected.
Seine River happened to be recorded as the venue of rowing, swimming, and water polo matches during 1900 Summer Olympics. Another water sport event held on the river was the 1924 rowing events along the Bassin d’Argenteuil which is located on the north of Paris.
January 1910, Seine River overflowed and wiped the city of Paris, forcing thousands of its citizens to take refuge to nearest shelters. Since then, the river was routinely dredged.
In 1961, when a massacre took place in Paris, victims were thrown to the river from the Saint-Michel Bridge and other bridges. Looking back to it’s history, Seine River was and still is a favorite place to dump bodies and suicides. 
Pont Rouelle
In 1991 UNESCO added the banks of the Seine in Paris – the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite – to it’s list of World Heritage Sites, in Europe.
Since 2002 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 was a popular site for 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.
Other facts about the River Seine
The Seine flows through Paris, the capital city of France.
There are more than 30 bridges over the Seine in Paris, including: Pont Neuf, Pont Des Arts and Pont Louis-Philippe, and many more bridges over the river outside of the city.
The river is slow flowing and easy to navigate.
Much of the important and valuable artwork in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms. If it is forecast that the Seine will flood, the artwork is moved to higher ground.
The water quality of the River Seine has been quite poor in the past, but in recent years it has improved and Atlantic salmon have returned to the river.
The River Seine has served as inspiration for many of the world’s greatest artists, including: Raoul Dufy, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley.
The Seine is connected to the River Rhine by the River Marne. 
The Seine is also linked to Belgium’s waterways.
The Seine drains an area of about 30,000 sq miles.
The main tributaries of the Seine are the Aube, the Oise, the Marne and the Eue.
In Paris, the river flows through high embankments.
If you stand looking down river, the bank to your right is known as the Right Bank and the bank to your left is known as the Left Bank. 
This sounds obvious, but it’s often hard to work out which side of the river you’re on, because of it’s meandering course.
Several power stations use the Seine as the source of their cooling water.
The water from the Seine is also used in industry and as drinking water.
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I would personally call it: History with a view!
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About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

6 thoughts on “History of the Seine River

  1. Beautiful photos ; D

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