Seine Trivia


The city of Paris is, in many ways, defined by the river which runs through its heart. So before your next trip to the City of Lights, here’s a little trivia and information about the River Seine, which you should feel free to bombard your travel companions with in order to display your clear superiority.

  • La Seine River is pronounced ‘SEN’ as in SEND without the D. As opposed to SANE as in INSANE.
  • The Seine was named after a River Goddess Sequana and in the time of the Gauls, the river was thus called Sequan. (I find this word to be similar to sequin – and at times the Seine looks almost as if shimmering black sequins dance on caplets when the wind picks up.)
  • If you have problems with masculine and feminine ‘le’ and ‘la’ – it’s La Seine, but Le Fleuve (The Seine, the River) and just to confuse things a bit more – la riviere – except that in French riviere isn’t a river, it’s a stream.
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  • The Seine is 500 miles long. It’s source is in St. Germain-la-Feuille in Burgundy and it eventually makes its way through Normandy (through Rouen, and finally Le Havre) where it tumbles into the Channel.
  • Why is the Left Bank called the Left Bank and the Right Bank called the Right? Because the Seine River twists and turns so much throughout the city, you must decide your left from your right by following the Seine downstream. That would be from East to West. Therefore when you take your Paris boat tour, if the Eiffel Tower is on your left, you’re traveling downstream. If Notre Dame Cathedral is on your left, you’re traveling upstream. But just to add to the confusion, Notre Dame isn’t on the Left Bank and it isn’t on the Right Bank – it’s on Ile de la Cite, which is an island.

The most important thing to remember about Paris Trivia – rarely is anything simple.

>> Here’s a walking tour covering many of the city’s beautiful bridges which cross the Seine.

>> Also read these Seine safety tips before you go!

original photo by: Stuck in Customs