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Pont Neuf SamaritaineSeineboatSeinebeach

Seine

The Seine River divides Paris into the left and right banks. It has 37 bridges/ponts joining the two banks the oldest of which is the Pont Neuf (despite its name meaning new bridge) which dates back to the 16th century when Henri III laid the first stone in the presence of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medicis. The newest bridge, completed in the summer of 1996, is the Pont Charles de Gaulle built to accommodate traffic from new project like the Bercy sports arena.

Many boat companies operate both information and meal cruise tours along the river. Their long, narrow and flat bateaux are designed to negotiate the ponts. Most have an inside glassed in section downstairs with an open air area on the upper deck and offer a different perspective of the city especially at night. Some of the features you can see from these boats or walking along the banks of the Seine include those shown in the diagram below:

In summer, Parisians flock to the banks of the Seine to sunbath on fake temporary 'Paris Beaches'. The city pours 1,500 tonnes of sand over a half a mile stretch of the Seine shores to create an artificial tropical getaway complete with beach umbrellas, deck chairs and palm trees. You can even swim in pools suspended over the Seine, kayak, enjoying an evening concert or enjoy other activities for both kids and adults. Paris Plage was launched in 2002 by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. One of the objectives of Paris Plage was to make summer vacation accessible to families unable to afford getting out of town. It was initially criticised by some as costly and frivolous but has become a permanent fixture in the Parisian summertime scene.

Legend has it that after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, her ashes were thrown into the Seine and Napoleon's will stated he wanted to be buried on the banks of the Seine but was not.

Go to places to see Paris which also has information on most places in the diagram above.

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