The short answer is yes, at least for the first part of your question.* The*river is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, but almost*the entire river is navigable by*canal*vessels and recreational boats.* There are six (I think)*sets of large locks between the mouth of the river and Paris.* The average depth of the navitable portion of the river is said to be about 8 metres.
Every time we have been in Paris there has been a steady stream of commercial power barges (which appear to be some 80 to 130 feet long), large yachts, pleasure boats, and tugs and barges coming up or going down the Seine. The only restriction is height--- most of the bridges spanning the Seine in Paris (and probably other places downstream) have relatively low clearances. The river also rises and falls depending on the season. So you would have to confirm the height restrictions along the way. But given the freeboard of some of*the*empty barges we've seen*my bet is your boat would clear just fine, at least the bridges in Paris.
Most of the newer power barges in France, Germany, etc. have power-operated wheelhouses that can raise and lower as required by the bridges.* Note the car on the boat deck of the barge in last photo.* This is a feature of almost all the river barges in Europe--- they carry the family car on deck and swing it onto the quay with a big power davit.* This particular barge also has*a children's fenced "playground" and a speedboat on the boat deck.* Many of these barges are family owned and operated and the family lives on the barge year-round.
There are lots of private boats moored along both banks of the Seine in Paris, including a lot of liveaboards. So far as I've been able to determine there are no marinas in the sense that most of us think of a marina, at least not in the city itself.** But I have read there are boatyards near the city that can haul a boat out so there may be conventional marina basins in the outskirts of the city or just beyond.*
It appears that mooring to the bank*within the city*is allowed only in certain places. Boats are often moored two or three deep along the embankments. Most of them tend to be converted canal/river boats. I have no idea how the permit process works, but I have heard it is very expensive. And space does appear to be limited. So that's something you'd have to determine with the city government.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Seine through Paris is VERY rough, at least during the day. The commercial boats and power barges move through at a pretty good clip and their big wakes bounce back and forth between the stone and concrete embankments like you wouldn't believe.* The boats going upstream can generate some huge wakes.* Note the*bow wave against the quay in the fourth picture.**This or worse is what nails you every time a vessel goes by.**In addition to the large commercial craft there is an endless parade of huge tourist barges plus the Bateau Busses, which are wide, two-deck, eighty or ninety foot water busses that run a continuous loop between the Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame with regular stops on both banks in between
Consequently, the people who moor along the river have to come up with some pretty ingenious ways of preventing their boats from being battered to pieces against the quay. One fellow I met who lived on a gorgeous Duch sailing barge moored opposite Notre Dame*had several long, spring-loaded telescopic poles that held his boat about five feet off the quay. Then he ran spring lines to soak up the fore and aft movement. The poles acted as long shock absorbers to prefent the boat from hitting the stone side. He ran a long gangplank from the boat to the quay.
Other boats use rows of large tires. But whatever you do, you will be bounced around pretty violently all day and into the night until the tour and restaurant*boats stop operations around 2300 or so.
There is a wonderful book about the Seine called "The Secret Life of the Seine" by Mort Rosenblum.* Published in 1994, Mort is an American who lives or lived on a converted wood canal boat moored to the quay in Paris.* His book is*the story*of the entire river but he talks a lot about liveaboard life in the city.* Well worth reading even if one never visits Paris.
-- Edited by Marin on Friday 17th of July 2009 07:38:54 PM