The Seine River is a revered part of France, weaving its way from the picturesque Burgundy region, through the heart of Paris, and finally flowing into the English Channel between Le Havre and Honfleur. At 754 kilometres, it is the second-largest river in France after the Loire. Read on for six facts about the Seine River, and cruise along this fascinating river with Avalon Waterways.
1. The Seine has a storied history
Can you believe that the Seine is more than 14,000 years old? It has seen through many conquerors, dignitaries, royals, battles and developments, yet its route remains relatively unchanged since 12,000 BC.
2. The tomb of Richard the Lionheart sits alongside the Seine
Rouen and its cathedral have played an integral role in history, found right on the banks of the Seine River. Richard the Lionheart, King of England, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, Count of Maine, and Count of Anjou has one of his three tombs at Rouen Cathedral.
3. You used to be able to swim in the Seine
Swimming and bathing in the Seine were prohibited in 1923. However, before this occurred, swimming in the Seine was all part of the norm. In Paris, swimming competitions were held as well as locals cooling off during the summer months.
4. There is a goddess of the Seine
According to Gallic mythology, a nymph of the Seine springs exists – named Sequana. This site is owned by the city of Paris, found at its starting point Source-Seine in Burgundy Franche-Comté, which you can visit for yourself.
5. The Seine has been inspiration for many
The Seine has been featured in everything from artwork to literature to film over its history. It inspired famous artists such as Claude Monet and Henri Matisse, writers such as Victor Hugo and Ernest Hemingway, and is featured in movies and television series such as The Bourne Identity and Emily in Paris.
6. The Seine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Thanks to its exceptional cultural and historical value, the banks of the Seine in Paris were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. This particular stretch of the river covers 7.5 kilometres, including the section that passes by the Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower.
Take a look at Avalon Waterways’ range of Seine River cruises today.