How does one write the history of a river? In recent decades the prevailing tone to river history has been one of engineering, power, and environmental change. This talk on the Marne River in French history takes a different approach. It asks not how the French have engineered their riparian environment but how it was that this country – France – could come to be so identified with and by its rivers, streams, and canals, and what that identification could mean in historical terms. Exploring, amidst the ever-changing character of waterways, the continuities by which the French set rivers into their history, it shows how the epic history of great events, the daily history of river contention, and the history of life and leisure along the riverfront could converge into a single, French river history.