This article is about the river in France; it should not be confused with the Senne, a much smaller river that flows through Brussels. For other rivers named Seine, see Seine River (disambiguation). A seine is also a kind of fishing net.
The Seine (pronounced "sen") is a major river of northern France, forming the country's chief commercial waterway. It is also a tourist attraction, particularly within the city of Paris.
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 Paris.
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
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.