The concentrations of dissolved trace elements (Li, B, Mn, Cu, As, Rb, Sr, Mo, Cd, Ba, Pb) in the Marne and Seine rivers in the Paris urban area were monitored over a 2-year period. The resulting data indicated moderate contamination of waters by the most toxic elements (Cu, As, Cd and Pb). The River Marne upstream and the River Seine downstream of the city of Paris displayed similar concentrations. However higher fluxes of trace elements were observed in the Seine than in the Marne due to their different discharges. Li, B, Rb, Sr and Ba concentrations were correlated with river discharge and concentrations were higher during high river flow. This was interpreted as a dilution by discharge from a major natural or anthropogenic source. Mn, Cu, Mo, Cd and Pb concentrations were not correlated with discharge. Dissolved Mn, Cu and Cd increased rapidly in summer, whereas the concentration of Mo decreased. These variations were attributed to redox processes. During summer when the dissolved oxygen concentrations decrease, Mn, Cu, Cd and Pb are released into solution whereas Mo is immobilised. Like metals, variations in arsenic contents were not linked with discharge. Its similarity with phosphate distribution suggests similar controls involving phytoplankton uptake and release from sediments through organic matter mineralization.