Saturday, April 21, 2012

S = Seine River, Paris - A to Z

Romance, Intrigue, Trysts . . .it's the perfect setting. 

The Seine River in Paris, tour boats on left, by DG Hudson

Seine River, Paris

The Seine (Fr: La Seine) is a 776 km (482 mi) long river and important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. The Seine rises near Dijon in eastern central France, and flows through Paris and into the English Channel.  The river is only 24 metres (80 ft) above sea level 446 km (277 mi) from its mouth, making it slow flowing and easily navigable.

Seine River from the Eiffel Tower, by DG Hudson

The 1910 Great Flood of Paris

In January 1910, the Seine flooded 20 feet (6.1 m) above normal, drowning streets throughout the city of Paris and sending thousands of Parisians to emergency shelters. The 1910 Great Flood of Paris was the worst the city had seen since 1658 when the water reached only a few centimetres higher.

The Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982 and 1999–2000. 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. Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms that would be flooded. 


Evening by the Seine

Bridge view of the Seine River, Paris, by DG Hudson

We managed to walk by or across the Seine at least once a day.  I haggled with a Spanish painter who displayed his canvases by the tour boats, on the banks (the quai) of the Seine River.  (Mostly, he tried to get us to haggle.)  He ended up throwing in one extra painting because we came back a second time. 


Paris Beach Scene

Since 2002, Paris-Plages (Paris Beaches) has been held every summer on the Paris banks of the Seine River: a transformation of the paved banks into a beach with sand and facilities for sunbathing and entertainment.  Riverside thoroughfares become car-free resorts for pedestrians. The Paris Plages starts around July 20 and lasts four weeks.   It's more reasonable than the Côte d'Azur.

Seine with Alexander III bridge in background , by DG Hudson


Seine Trivia

After the burning at the stake of Joan of Arc in 1431, her ashes were thrown into the Seine from the medieval stone Mathilde Bridge.  Per Wikipedia, In 2006, Joan's 'reported remains' were tested by a forensics team and proven to be false, so this story of the ashes rings true.

According to his will, Napoleon, who died in 1821, wished to be buried on the banks of the Seine. His request was not granted.  He rests now at the Panthéon, a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.


Intrigue and Desperation

The Seine River was a popular site for suicides and the disposal of murder victims.  In 2007, fifty-five bodies were retrieved from its waters; in February 2008, the body of a celebrity was found there.  Many large rivers have this same problem.

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.  (The French Revolution covered 1789–1799.)


DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc. (Art, Film, Places and People)

Have you seen the Seine River? Any impressions?  If not, do you like walking by a water source or do you prefer the woodsy terrain?  Please share in the comments.

References:  The Seine River  River Cruises in Paris   City of Paris, Paris Plages  Paris-Plages