RIVER SEINE (Lat. Sequana), one of the chief rivers of France, rising on the eastern slope of the plateau of Langres, about 5 m. N.W. of St Seine-l'Abbaye and 18 m. N.W. of Dijon. It keeps the same general direction (north-westwards) throughout its entire course, but has numerous windings: between its source and its mouth in the English Channel the direct distance is only 250 m., but that actually traversed by the river (through the departments of Cote-d'Or, Aube, Marne, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-et-Oise, Seine, Eure and Seine-Inferieure) is 482 m. Though shorter than the Loire and Rhone, and inferior in volume to the Loire, Rhone and Gironde, the Seine derives an exceptional importance from the regularity of its flow. This feature is due to the geological character of its basin, an area of 30,000 sq. m., entirely belonging to France (with the exception of a few communes in Belgium), and formed in three-fourths of its extent of permeable strata, which absorb the atmospheric precipitation to restore it gently to the river by perennial springs. At Paris the average volume of the river per second is 5300 cub. ft. ; after it has received all its tributaries the volume is about 10,600 cub. ft. At Paris it falls as low as 1550 cub. ft., and in exceptional droughts the figure of 1 200 is reached. During the flood of 1658 the volume between the quays at Paris is believed to have risen to 88,000 cub. ft. per second. The height of the river above the normal at Paris was probably on that occasion about 21 ft., whereas in the disastrous floods of January 1910 it was over 24 ft. Other notable floods are recorded in 1740, 1799, 1802, 1876 and 1883.
Rising at a height of 1545 ft. above sea-level, at the base of the statue of a nymph erected on the spot by the city of Paris, the Seine is at first such an insignificant streamlet that it is often dry in summer as far as Chatillon (705 ft.) some 31 m. from its source. At Bar its waters feed the Haute-Seine Canal, though navigation thereon only begins at Troyes. It next passes Mery, and at Marcilly receives the Aube (right), at which point the canal terminates and the river itself is canalized ; here it is deflected from its hitherto north- northwesterly to a south-westerly direction by the heights of the Brie, the base of which it skirts past Nogent and Montereau. At the latter point it receives the Yonne, its most important left-hand tributary, and is deepened from 5 ft. 3 in. to 6 ft. 6 in. It then resumes its general north-westerly direction, receiving the Loing (left) at Moret; having passed Melun it is joined at Corbeil by the Essonne (left), and after its junction with the Marne (right), a tributary longer than itself by 31 m. at the confluence, reaches Paris. From this point to the sea its channel has been so deepened that vessels of 9 to 10 ft. draught can reach the capital. The river then winds through a pleasant champaign country past St Cloud, St Denis, Argenteuil, St Germain, Conflans (where it is joined from the right by the Oise, 56 ft. above the sea), Poissy, Mantes, Les Andelys, between which and the sea the rivefc is remarkable for its detours, as also in the vicinity of Paris. At Poses the tide first begins to be perceptible. It next receives the Eure (left), and passes Pont de 1'Arche, Elbeuf and Rouen, where the sea navigation commences. The river is dyked below Rouen so as to admit vessels of 20 ft. draught, and large areas have thus been reclaimed for cultivation. At every tide there is a " bore " (barre or mascaret), ranging usually from 8 to 9 ft., and attaining its maximum from Quillebeuf to Caudebec. Below Quillebeuf (where the Risle is received from the left) the estuary begins, set with extensive sandbanks, between which flows a narrow navigable channel. Tancarville (right) is the starting-point of a canal to enable river boats for Havre to avoid the sea passage. The river enters the English Channel between Honfleur on the left and Havre on the right. The Marne brings to the Seine the waters of the Ornain, the Ourcq, and the Morin ; the Oise those of the Aisne ; the Yonne those of the Armancpn. The low elevation of the bounding hills has rendered it comparatively easy to connect the Seine and its affluents with adjoining river basins by means of canals. The Oise and Somme are connected to the Picardy or Crozat Canal, which in turn is continued to the Scheldt by means of the St Quentin Canal and the Oise, and to the Sambre by that of Oise and Sambre. Between the Aisne and the Meuse is the Ardennes Canal, and the Aisne and the Marne are united by a canal which passes Reims. The Marne has similarcommunication with the Meuse and the Rhine, the Yonne with the Sa6ne (by the Burgundy Canal) and with the Loire by the Loing Canal dividing at Montargis into two branches those of Orleans and Briare.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)