30 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss It
The beautiful city of Paris is built on the banks of the majestic River Seine. Flowing through the centre, it gives so much life and joy to the city. In fact, the whole of Paris revolves around this waterway. Some of the world’s most insanely famous monuments sit proudly on its banks. You can’t possibly miss the River Seine and all its glory, even if you tried. Let me give you 30 reasons why. You will agree, it’s one hell of a tourist attraction!
- The banks of the Seine were originally settled on by a tribe of Celtic fishermen called the Parisii in 250 BC. The land was very fertile and Paris grew and expanded. In the middle ages it was the biggest city in Europe. Eventually, it became home to the French Monarchy, before they moved to Versailles.
2. The Seine has always been a thoroughfare for commercial and transportation use over the centuries.
3. Geographically, the city is landlocked, so without the river, Paris probably wouldn’t have existed.
4. Over its long tumultuous history, many battles, floods, crimes and drownings have occurred here, on or around the Seine. I won’t mention that a lot of dead bodies have been retrieved from the river.
5. The Seine is the ‘liquid heart’ of the city, a hub of Parisian life, attracting locals and tourists to its banks, to relax and socialise.
6. It passes through 10 of the 20 districts of Paris (arrondissements) and the banks have been labelled ‘right’ and ‘left’ (amazing) when facing downstream, which is the direction of the water flow.
7. The River provides half of the water supply for Parisians today. Care for a drink? I’ll stick to Champagne, thanks.
9. Other interesting things along the river include The Conciergerie, Sainte-Chapelle Church, Orangery Museum, The Grand Palais and Petit Palais, and gorgeous canals that connect to the Seine.
10. For the last one hundred years, swimming in the Seine has been prohibited with strict fines imposed (along with a nasty dose of bacteria!) for anyone deciding to take a dip. It is not fit for swimming. Yet.
11. The current 1 Billion Euro cleanup operation underway will hopefully make the river swim-worthy again.
12. The plan is to have it ready in time for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, so water events can take place in the Seine.
13. The quality of the water has already improved considerably with various varieties of fish returning to the waterway.
14. Since 2017 you can actually swim on the ‘side’ of the river in the floating pools, in the form of a giant barge. It is called the Piscine Josephine Baker, located at Bassin de la Villette, and treated water from the river is used.
15. People queue up to swim for FREE in the 3 pools here. No wonder, because they get to enjoy the spectacular view whilst cooling off in the Summer.
There are many wonderful facilities around the Seine including:
16. Numerous floating restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
17. Bicycle and pedestrian paths.
18. Gardens, exercise stations and play areas.
19. One of the most sensational things to occur on the banks of the river is beaches! Whaaat? I hear you ask.
As there are no natural beaches anywhere near Paris for people to enjoy in the Summer, the council thought, why not bring the beach to Paris? So every Summer, sections of the river bank, in 3 different locations, magically transform into beaches. Well, not quite magically – it takes a few days, and the Council spends a small fortune (a few million euros, in fact). Truck loads of sand (5,000 metric tons actually) are brought into the city and dumped on the riverbanks. Plus, numerous palm trees, sun-lounges and parasols are added. And Voila! People can sunbathe and soak up the faux beach atmosphere. Fantastique! Roads are closed along the banks, cars are banned and the rollerbladers are out in force.
20. The mock beaches run from early July to early September, 9am to midnight.
21. Beach games, dancing, and kids’ activities are organised.
22. Concerts are also held on the beach in the evenings with local artists playing.
23. The Paris Plages experience is FREE. It’s madness, with people scrambling for a spot to soak up the sand and surf. Oh wait, there’s no surf. Even so, it’s a hugely popular event every year.
24. You can purchase food, drinks and alcohol from places along the beach, um, river. I’m confused.
25. Please note, even though it’s France, no topless sun-bathing is allowed on the Paris beach; this is not the Mediterranean!
26. Paris offers several cruise operators to take you down the river for a romantic view of the city – Bateaux Mouches, Bateaux Parisiens (included in the Paris Pass), Batobus, and others. A very relaxing way to sightsee and view the famous icons of Paris. Some include dining, champagne and narration. I thoroughly recommend a scenic river cruise on The Seine.
More cool facts
27. The Seine River is 777km long,
28. It has 37 bridges in Paris, the oldest one is Pont Neuf, which means ‘new bridge’, dating from 1607 (makes perfect sense, not!).
29. The banks are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and
30. The river flows all the way into the English Channel.
That’s a wrap. My 30 reasons why you can’t miss the River Seine in Paris.
Tours on the Seine
Here are my cruise recommendations for you to enjoy the River Seine:
River Seine Snaps
Paris in Winter
Tours of Paris
I recommend taking a tour in Paris. Here are some I’ve selected for you to consider.
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