View from the Eiffel Tower
Place de la Concorde at the Top Right
Elevation of the source :
Average discharge :
Area watershed :
Basin countries :
| 776 km
78 650 km²
the English Channel
and from a Celtic (or more probably Pre-Indo-European) suffix -onna which means "source, river", and which can be found in the name of many rivers of western Europe (such as the Garonne or the Dordogne).
The name "Sakw -onna" ("sacred source", "sacred river"), is also the name of several other western European rivers, such as the Saône River, and possibly also the River
Another proposed etymology posits that Sequana is
the Latin version of Gaulish Isicauna. Is-Icauna
would be the diminutive of Icauna, which was the
Gaulish name of the Yonne River.
The ancient Gauls considered
the Seine to be a tributary of the Yonne, which indeed
presents a greater average discharge than the Seine (the river
flowing through Paris should be called Yonne if the standard
rules of geography were applied). Icauna comes from the
Pre-Indo-European roots inka -onna. Further research
will be needed to decide between both etymologies.
Further downstream in what is now Normandy, the Seine was known as
Rodo, or Roto, which is a traditional Celtic name for rivers, and is also the original name of the Rhône River (see Rhône article for further explanations). This is proved by the name of Rouen, which was
Rotomagos in Gaulish, meaning "field, plain (magos
in Gaulish, whose meaning evolved into "market") of the Roto".
The river is 780 km (485 miles) long, France's second-longest (after the Loire). Its 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
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), because when facing the same direction that the river flows, these are the directions to the left and right.
The route of the river Seine, in northern France
is shown in the image on the right.
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 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.
In ancient times the
Seine was known by the Latin name Sequana.
Dredging in the 1960s mostly eliminated the tidal bore ("le mascaret") formerly present in the Seine.
Until the administrative reorganization in the 1960s, Seine was also the name of
département number 75. It was named after the river and containing the city of Paris and the surrounding area. It was split into four départements in 1968: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne. See: Seine (département).
The Banks of the Seine in Paris were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1991.
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