The river flows from northern France and is one of the country's main commercial transportation routes. In addition to Paris, it flows through the cities of Trois, Rouen and Le Havre.
While walking on the banks of the river, you can see some of the city's most important sites, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Bourbon Palace, the Orsay Museum, the Arab World Institute and more.
38 bridges decorate the Seine River, including the Pont Neuf. You can climb and cross the bridges to reach the opposite bank. The "young" and last bridge built is the Charles de Gaulle bridge. At dusk and evening, you should go to the Arts Bridge near the Louvre, which attracts many artists who come to photograph the landscape at this magical hour. The Seine River is not that wide, however, the bridges that cross it reserve themselves a respected place in the world of architecture and public construction.
While France was a Roman province, the Seine was known in Latin as "Sequana", i.e. "originating from the river of Hyun."
The Pont Neuf was built as a solution to an age-old problem: Traffic. Yes, just like on roads. In its neighboring bridges - the Moneychangers' Bridge and the Notre Dame Bridge, there was traffic and crowds of too many people. This required another crossing between the two banks of the Seine.
King Henry the 3rd arrived at this bridge after the funeral of his two small children. Due to the heavy mourning that prevailed in the city during this period, the bridge was called "the bridge of tears." It was later nicknamed the "drunkards bridge" because of the wine tax levied on ships sailing under it. This nickname has also been lost in the course of time and the name ended up being the official and uninspired name - Pont Neuf.
On the archways of the bridge are frozen faces with frowns. Legend has it, that Henry the 3rd's men were the inspiration of the statues. The niches, suitable for romantic couples, were used for commerce and shady business. In addition, in the first years after its construction, the new bridge became a lively prostitution center, due to the concept of the bridges area as a "twilight zone." In the 17th century, the Paris police decided to clean up the plague of prostitution from the new bridge and take significant actions against it.
The right bank is identified with elegant and luxurious areas such as Vendome Square or Place de Vouz.
The most famous street in the right bank is the Champs-Elysées, but there are other important streets such as Rue Rivoli, the Rue de la Paix, Saint Honoré and others.
The population on the right bank is complex. There are rich, affluent neighborhoods in the west alongside workers and immigrants and gradually poorer neighborhoods. This bank is hectic, commercial, functional and has a large population density. Most of the leading companies, banks and business activity are concentrated here.
The left bank is identified as more bohemian. It is quiet, green and more historic. The most prominent district is the Latin district.
The main streets on the left bank are Saint-Germain Boulevard and Saint-Michel Boulevard. But beyond the geographical difference between it and the right bank, the name refers to cultural and social characteristics of the population itself. In addition, most institutions, such as universities, research institutes and hospitals, are concentrated in the Left Bank.
Ile Saint-Louis was named after Louis the 9th of France. It is connected to the rest of Paris by a system of bridges - the Saint-Louis Bridge (linking the island to Il de la Cité), the La Tournelle bridge (connecting the island to the left bank), the Louis Philippe bridge (connecting the island to the right bank), the Marie Bridge (connecting the island to the right bank as well) and the Solly Bridge (which crosses the island from the right bank to the left). The islands are used primarily for residential purposes, but in the past they were two uninhabited islands that served as cattle grazing grounds and as a place to store trees.
A palace from the Roman period is located in the western side of Ile de la Cité, the larger island of the two, while the eastern side has been devoted since that period to religious affairs. Among other things you can find Notre Dame Cathedral on it. The area between the islands was intended, until the 1850's, for residential and commercial purposes. Since then it has been developed with police offices, the Paris Hall of Justice, the Hospital Hôtel-Dieuu and more. Today, only the western and northern parts of the island are used for residential purposes and among them you will even find some remains of houses from the 16th century.
Tourists are often confused between the two banks - the right and left, they waste hours looking in maps and try to find on which side they are on. The trick is to remember that when you are standing at the bottom of the river (In the direction of the slope of the river), the left bank is to your left and the right bank is to your right. If you can't figure out which direction the water is flowing, find a piece of floating debris and observe which way it is floating.
There are 32 bridges on the Seine river, some more impressive than the others. The most ancient bridge is the Pont Neuf, which was immortalized by artists and poets and is even mentioned in 20th-century movies.
The bridge crosses a small island from which guided tours on small boats begin. In the spring or summer it is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon on bench under the willow trees, sunbathe a bit and stroll through the gardens in the center. If you're a person who likes to look at boats, this is an excellent spot. In fact, this is one of the nicest places to go around in Paris.
Another popular bridge is the Von des Arts, built out of metal and designed entirely for pedestrians. It has an amazing view, perhaps one of the most beautiful in Paris. People bring bottles of wine with them and have a picnic, others bring guitars and the atmosphere is always light and festive. Under the bridge, at both side of the docks you can see lots of sunbathers, cyclists and runners.
One of the familiar people is Paul Celan. The tormented poet of the Holocaust, who for years identified with the existential experience of his people. When he felt that he could no longer live the terrible past, he went through periods of mental crisis, depressions, hospitalizations and finally - dived to his death in this river.
There is also the story of "the unknown woman from the Seine River." At the end of 1880 the body of a young woman was found in the river. There were no signs of violence on the body, and it could be assumed that she had committed suicide. The pathologist, who was shown her body in the morgue, was amazed at the beauty of the young woman who seemed to smile at her death and wanted to make a mask of her face. The masks began to sell quickly in the markets and it became popular among the French bohemians of the time. The mask can be found in the houses of many writers, painters and poets.
In the 60's the unknown woman from Seine's mask was used as the face of the first resuscitation doll, and it is claimed that it made her the most kissed face of all time. The real identity of the unknown woman, has never been discovered.
The great tragedies that took place near the river are the most fascinating stories, those less familiar with tourists. This does not mean that the Seine River represents death, but it is interesting to think of it as part of the life cycle.