La Seine, or more popular as the Seine, is a famous river which lies across Paris and mouths to the English Channel. The river is 776 km long a popular site of attraction for many domestic and international tourists.
There are several disagreements about the origin of the river’s name. 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. 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.
Seine River in History
Although the origin of Seine River name is still a bit confusing and inconclusive, Seine River has long and remarkable history that tourists can learn. For instance, Seine River was the river where one of France’s greatest heroes’, Joan of Arc, ashes were thrown into in 1431 after her burning to death. The history says that the throwing was done from Mathilde Bridge. Some dissenting opinions, though, exist.
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.
Seine River was also 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.
During World War II, Seine River was one of the original objectives of Operation Overlord. The 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.
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 its history, Seine River was and still is a favorite place to dump bodies and suicides. Record shows that 55 bodies were retrieved from the river in 2007. Prior to that, 306 bodies were retreated from the river in a six-year span in early 1800s.
The Big Flood
In 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.
Seine River and Paris-Plages
In 1891, UNESCO listed banks of Seine River as one of World Heritage Sites in Europe. There is also an annual event held named Paris-Plages since 2002 every summer. In this annual event, the paved banks of the river are turned into artificial beach. The banks are covered with sand and facilities for sunbathing and entertainment are provided. So, try to go to Paris in the summer and do not miss the fun and joy you will experience.
This year, Paris Plages will be held from July 20th to August 19th. The open hours are from 8 am until midnight. There are three main locations where attractions are centered. The first one is the square in front of City Hall or Hotel de Ville. The other two locations are along the Quai de la Villette in 19th arrondissement and along the right banks of the Seine River on the Georges Pompidou Expressway.
All sites in Paris Plages have been modified so that they can be accessed by people on wheelchairs or those who have limited mobility. So, do not miss to ride a boat and enjoy the beautiful sunset in Seine River.