The longest river in France is a fundamental axis within Paris. Top places and activities to do on the Seine.
The Seine River is one of the most emblematic Parisian icons, as recognizable as the Eiffel Tower or the Notre Dame Cathedral. When you think of the many monuments in Paris, the Seine River is always high on the list.
Continue reading to understand how fundamental the Seine is in the life of Parisians , discover its bridges and most historic places, as well as some of the outdoor activities that you can do along its course.
Paris and the Seine river
Paris and the Seine River have had an inseparable relationship for centuries. It must not be forgotten that it is the longest river in France , and that its course crosses Paris in a meandering line of 13 kilometers.
It is born in the commune of Source-Seine, in the department of Côte d’Or in Burgundy, and ends near Le Havre in the English Channel.
Beyond its obvious importance for river transportation, the Seine has also been instrumental in the history and culture of Paris , such as during the French Revolution and in the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Regarding the characteristics of the Seine River, it has 37 bridges that cross it as it passes through Paris. In total, it is 776 km long and 482 km navigable. In addition, its flow can vary from 20 m³ in summer to 1,500 m³ in the rainy season.
Paris has suffered several overflows of the river throughout its history, but none like the great flood of 1910. On that occasion the overflow of the Seine did not occur along its banks, but flooded the subway tunnels, the drains and the entire system sewer.
What to see on the Seine River
As you can already imagine, the River Seine is the perfect place from which to explore some of the most important icons of Paris. So, try not to get wet and prepare to navigate its waters:
The island of the Cite
The Ile de la Cité is one of the two islands that are located in the Seine River in the heart of Paris. This island is home to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, which offers a stunning view from the river.
Also on the Ile de la Cité, you can visit the Sainte-Chapelle, the Palace of Justice and walk through its beautiful medieval streets.
Quai Saint Bernard
Quai Saint Bernard is one of the banks of the Seine River that offers one of the most beautiful views of the city , especially when the lights of the Parisian nights are reflected in the water.
Also, here is the Jardin des Plantes (a beautiful botanical garden that is perfect for relaxing and enjoying a picnic).
The Rives de Seine Park
The Rives de Seine park is a green space in the center of Paris that stretches along the banks of the Seine River. It offers stunning views of the city and is a popular place to walk, jog or just sit and enjoy the view.
The quai de la Mégisserie
The quai de la Mégisserie is the place to go to see the booksellers on the banks of the Seine. It is a perfect place to find rare and old books, as well as to enjoy a pleasant walk along the river bank.
The most important bridges of the Seine river
The Seine River has many iconic bridges that are a symbol of the city of Paris. Some of the most important are the Alexander III Bridge , the Arts Bridge , the Concorde Bridge , the Pont Neuf and the Bir-Hakeim Bridge .
Monuments to see on the Seine River
It’s no secret that the River Seine is flanked by some of Paris’ most famous landmarks, including the Louvre Museum , Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower . They are all a must see and offer a stunning view from the river.
Activities to do on the Seine
Beyond what we have said so far, the Seine River is not just a place to enjoy beautiful views or walk along its course. Continue reading so you don’t miss out on everything you can do on this beautiful river:
The boat trip on the Seine is an incredible way to see the city from a unique perspective. It is not expensive and it takes place aboard a glass-enclosed trimaran where you can live the experience of a cruise in Paris in a big way.
The Batobus is one of the most fun ways to tour the Seine. You can hop on the Batobus for a full tour of the river, or use it to get from one place to another as a kind of water taxi.
One of the best romantic ideas in Paris is to reserve a table to enjoy a dinner cruise in Paris . Perhaps it is not a plan for all budgets, but if you are on a budget, a dinner on the Seine River can be an unforgettable experience.
Picnic on the Seine
A picnic by the river sounds like it can be a good plan, as well as being very cheap, to have a good time in the city of Paris. Below we suggest the best places where you can do it without any problem:
If you are a lover of water sports, you can rent a kayak for a tour of the Seine River. Thanks to the Olympics in Paris, the city council has made a large investment in the sanitation of its waters.
The Seine and the 2024 Olympic Games
For the first time in the history of the Olympics, the inauguration of Paris 2024 will not take place in the Olympic stadium, but the Seine River will be the main protagonist of such a great event.
Along 6 km, more than 600,000 people will be able to witness the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games live . Music, art, architecture, dance and sport will merge into a show that promises to leave the whole world speechless.
How to get there?
There are many stations of the Paris metro that are located near the Seine River. Below we name the ones closest to the main tourist places along the river:
- Eiffel Tower: Bir-Hakeim Station (Line 6) or Trocadéro (Lines 6 and 9)
- Notre Dame: Cité Station (Line 4) or Saint-Michel (Lines 4 and 10)
- Louvre Museum: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre station (Lines 1 and 7) or Pyramides station (Line 14)
Lastly, don’t let the economy get in the way of your chance to experience the city of light. You can sign up for one of the best free tours in Paris leaving only a tip according to what your heart dictates.
Paris Pass tourist card . If visiting the main attractions and the main museums of the city is in your plans, it will undoubtedly be of great help to you.
And never forget that (as the Parisians say): “Il n’y a pas de plus belle avenue à Paris que la Seine”
Excursions on the Seine River in Paris
Boat rides, dinner cruises and transportation to enjoy the Seine
Dinner cruise in Paris
Enjoy a traditional French dinner with a two-hour cruise on the Seine River and enjoy incredible views of Paris with a gourmet dinner.
Boat trip on the Seine
A must-do activity in Paris! 1 hour boat ride where you will see places like the Invalides, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Grand Palais, and much more.
It is one of the most popular boats in Paris, you can already go down and climb up as you want inside the duration of your ticket.