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The Seine Axis

from Paris to Rouen and Le Havre

“Paris, Rouen, Le Havre, one and the same city, with the Seine as its main street.” This quotation by Napoleon Bonaparte still holds true today, because since 2021, the cities of Paris, Rouen, Le Havre and the Metropole du Grand Paris have been united around the Axe Seine agreement. The Seine is an essential part of France’s economic life, and its natural spaces, dotted with remarkable heritage sites, make it a tourist destination in its own right.

The Seine

in 10 unusual facts

Between Paris, Rouen and Le Havre flows the Seine for nearly 200km before emptying into the English Channel. The river and its surroundings are full of stories and secrets. Do you really think you know this river? Here are 10 unusual facts about the Seine, its evolution through the ages and the legends that surround it.

  • The Seine is over 14,000 years old: Although numerous modifications and developments have been made by Man, the river’s course is said to have been broadly the same since 12,000 BC.
  • At Le Havre, the Seine estuary is one of France’s three largest along with the Gironde and the Loire. It’s nearly 10,000 hectares of wetlands offering typical stretches such as salt meadows, roselières, wet meadows and vasières. These natural expanses are protected by La Réserve Naturelle de l’Estuaire de la Seine.
  • The great flood of 1910: The Seine is a centennial river, meaning that every year there is one chance in 100 that the river will flood. In 1910, Parisians had to travel by boat with a flood record of 8.62 meters above the Pont d’Austerlitz.
  • The Seine and Parisian street numbering: the Seine has had a real influence on the numbering of Parisian streets. Streets perpendicular or oblique to the river always have their first number at the street entrance on the side closest to the Seine. Parallel street numbers follow the direction of the current in ascending order.
  • The Vikings sailed up the Seine: In 841, the Vikings plundered Neustria, set fire to Rouen and laid siege to Paris all by sailing up the river on their famous drakkars!
  • By the 1980s, only the Pont de Tancarville provided a means of crossing the Le Havre estuary. With road traffic increasing drastically, a new bridge was needed. In 1987, construction of the Pont de Normandie was launched by the Chambre du Commerce et d’Industrie to facilitate trade between Honfleur and Le Havre. Spanning the Seine estuary, the bridge is now one of the 10 most beautiful in France.
  • On the right bank of the Seine in Rouen stands Rouen Cathedral, the tallest cathedral in France. For history buffs, it houses one of the three tombs of Richard the Lionheart, King of England, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, Count of Maine and Count of Anjou in the 12th century.
  • The shipwreck of Telemachus: it was in Rouen in 1790 that a sailing ship named Telemachus sank for reasons as yet unexplained. Numerous legends circulate claiming that the boat was carrying a fabulous treasure, which today is said to be still lost at the bottom of the Seine.
  • The Seine and the D-Day in Normandy: in early June 1944, numerous Allied bombardments neutralized a large majority of the bridges located between Paris and the sea constituting strategic points essential to the smooth running of the D-Day.
  • The goddess of the Seine: in Gallic mythology, Sequana is the nymph of the Seine springs. Located in a park, a former Gallo-Roman sanctuary at Source-Seine in Burgundy Franche-Comté, these springs can still be visited and are the property of the city of Paris, a veritable 21st arrondissement for the capital!

Enjoy the Seine

The axis offered by the Seine between Paris and Le Havre is an opportunity for all kinds of activities. Discover the wonders of this great river valley, the rich heritage of the cities of Paris, Rouen and Le Havre and make the most of the Seine and its surroundings.

The river is an integral part of the Rouen metropolitan area’s landscape. Dividing the capital of Normandy into two distinct banks, it is also the link between the many communes of our territory. From Le Trait to Sotteville sous le Val, the Seine reveals a multitude of faces that will delight lovers of boating and nature activities: towpaths, limestone cliffs, hiking trails … La Bouille, Sahurs, Saint-Martin de Boscherville, Jumièges, Freneuse or Elbeuf will offer you magnificent landscapes, immortalized, for some, by great masters of the impressionism.


Rouen sur Seine

Long appreciated for its architecture, shops and numerous events such as the Armada or the Festival Normandie Impressionniste, Rouen is positioned as a true regional capital.

The quays, banks of the Seine, towpaths, islands, the Grand Port Maritime, the Flaubert Bridge, the bacs or the Armada are tangible proof of the importance of this river for the people of Rouen and the Seine Valley. The yachting and industrial port activities present in Rouen and the Seine Valley illustrate the importance of this river for all the communes of the Rouen – Normandy Metropolis.

La Seine à Vélo

There’s “so much to do between Paris and the sea”… To make the most of it, an itinerary “La Seine à Vélo” linking Paris to Deauville or Paris to Le Havre takes cyclists along the Seine, the emblematic river. The 100-kilometer route crosses the Rouen Normandy Metropolis, allowing cyclists to (re)discover a variety of touristy landscapes, but also to explore Normandy off the beaten track and develop gentle, eco-friendly tourism, at the rhythm of the water. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or an amateur, the route is accessible and signposted, allowing for contemplative stops.

Calm and undulating, iridescent with the comings and goings of peniches and hemmed in by bocages or majestic abbayes, the Seine splits the Normandy landscape with its mythical curves. Cycling it is a great way to discover it in its natural state.

Sleeping on or beside the Seine

Let yourself be rocked by the Seine and discover the gites, hotels and houseboats that will welcome you for an unforgettable night. Between Paris, Rouen and Le Havre, spend a memorable moment on the banks of the Seine.

Lunch or dinner along the Seine

En amoureux, seul ou en famille, découvrez les établissements en bord de Seine pour un déjeuner ou un dîner atypique…

Events along the Seine

Festive events, exhibitions, outings, concerts and evenings, are offered to the rhythm of the seasons, with family or friends, make your choice, according to your desires, among the calendars of events of the year.

In Paris
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Au Havre
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A Rouen
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