The lure of the Seine

The two bridges…

The Seine was a natural frontier for a long time. ‘The other side of the water’ was used when describing the other bank. The coming of the ferries and, later, the bridges greatly improved the daily life of those whose worked on both sides of the river. Crossing from one side to the other soon became routine. However, with the increasing traffic it was sometimes necessary to wait up to two hours to cross. It was therefore decided to build the Tancarville and Brotonne bridges, in 1959 and 1977 respectively.

Le Pont de Brotonne, la nuit

The Brotonne Bridge, whose construction broke records at the time, nevertheless spelled the end of the ferry crossings at Caudebec-en-Caux and la Mailleraye-sur-Seine, which are still a great cause for nostalgia, even today. Don’t miss the opportunity to take one of the working ferries when crossing the river!

Le pont de Tancarville
Le pont de Brotonne

… And the river ferries

Craft of all shapes and sizes were used in the past to cross the river. Even though the shape has became more or less standard, the means of propulsion hasn’t stopped evolving to meet demand. The ferries have become an essential part of the economic development of businesses located on these major transport arteries. On the Quillebeuf to Port Jérôme crossing, which still runs and still free, a new type of rolling ferry was launched in 1908 and named l’Ampère. It was partly powered by electricity, ran for 15 years, and was the only one of its kind on the lower Seine .

Le ferry à Heurteville

A river pilot’s View

Patrick Duquenoÿ’s eyes light up when it comes to talking about his profession, which is also a passion. He became a Seine river pilot in 1991 and fell in love with the valley and its river, which he affectionately considers ‘one of the most beautiful navigable rivers in the world’. 

“I never tire of the Seine Valley, it’s never the same from one season to the next. In autumn, the colours of the forests which cling to the cliffs create such a rich tapestry! I particularly love the first green shoots of spring in May and the trees and flowers near Heurteville and Jumièges. It seems that I see a lot of birds, like Storks, Waders and Swans! It also seems to me that there is a greater diversity of species than we can actually see. The ships’ captains are amazed by the well preserved wilder areas alongside the cultivated land. The fields of Rape-seed and the patterns left by farmers working the land are a wonderful sight when viewed from the Seine.”

A source of inspiration for artists

The Seine is still a source of inspiration for artists. The Seine Valley, bathed in an ever-changing light, was immortalised by the Impressionists and continues to inspire and seduce local painters and photographers with its palette of colours. Olivier Desvaux, a painter who lives by the Seine in Villequier, has also found here that which he admires and inspires him so much in the Impessionists’ work. Villequier and the Seine also influenced Victor Hugo, but in a more tragic way. The drowning of his daughter, Léopoldine, and her husband inspired several of his most famous poems, which linked the name of this great figure of French literature to the little Norman village.

 Find out more about the Seine, its history and heritage by visiting MuséoSeine !

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Place du Général de Gaulle 76490 Rives-en-Seine
Latitude : 49.52 Longitude : 0.73