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Part of northern France, showing the route
of the river Seine.

The Seine is a major river of northern France, forming the country's chief commercial waterway. It is also a tourist attraction, particularly within the city of Paris.

The river is 780 km (485 miles) long, France's second longest (after the Loire which is 1020 km (634 miles) long). In ancient times the Seine was known by the Latin name Sequana.

The Seine's main tributaries are the Aube[?], Marne[?] and Oise[?] rivers from the north and the Yonne[?] and Eure[?] rivers from the south. It is connected with canals to the Scheldt (also called the Escaut), Meuse, Rhine, Saône[?] and Loire rivers.

The Seine rises in the French région of Burgundy, in the département of Côte-d'Or, 30 km (18 miles) northwest of Dijon at a height of 471 metres (1545 feet). The river then flows through Troyes to Paris.

In Paris, narrowed between high stone embankments, the river carries commercial barges, waterbuses and large tourist boats (bateaux-mouches[?]). From the water, fine views are seen of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay (housing Paris' collection of Impressionist art), the Conciergerie and the Eiffel Tower. The northern side of the river is described as the Right Bank (Rive Droite) and the southern side as the Left Bank (Rive Gauche).

The Banks of the Seine in Paris were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1991.

The river then meanders in large loops through Normandy and Rouen, entering the English Channel (La Manche) in an estuary between Le Havre and Honfleur[?].

The river Seine in Paris. The Place de la Concorde is top right. Taken from the highest level of the Eiffel Tower.
Larger version

The Seine is dredged and oceangoing vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) from the sea. Commercial riverboats can use the river from Bar-sur-Seine[?], 560 km (350 miles) from its mouth. At Paris, the river is only 24 metres (80 feet) above sea level, 445 km (277 miles) from its mouth, making it slow flowing and thus easily navigable.

The water of the Seine is an important resource. Electric power stations, thermal and nuclear, pull their cooling water from the river. Half the water used in the Paris region, both for industry and for consumption, and three quarters of the water used in the area between Rouen and Le Havre, is taken from the river.

External Links

  1. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paris/hist/river
  2. http://www.virtourist.com/europe/paris/index
  3. http://whc.unesco.org/whreview/article9
  4. http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/DF_waterways.shtml
  5. http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Transportation/Water/Bateaux-Mouches.shtml

Until the administrative reorganization in the 1960s, Seine was département number 75 of France, named after the river and containing the city of Paris and the surrounding area. It was split into 4 départements in 1968: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne.

A seine (Greek sagéné) is a kind of fishing net.

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