Occurrence and fate of 17 antibiotics were investigated in the aqueous phase of river water under different hydrological conditions at 5 sampling locations in the Seine River inner estuary. The target analytes belonged to 4 groups: quinolones, sulfonamides, nitro-imidazoles and diaminopyrimidines. This six-month survey (from January to June 2006) showed that different compounds were occurring at individual concentrations reaching 544 ng L(-)(1) (sulfamethoxazole). All 17 compounds were detected at least once in the survey. Sulfamethoxazole was detected in every sample, and showed the highest concentrations. Norfloxacin and flumequine were found to be the most ubiquitous quinolones, with detection frequencies of 33 and 75% respectively at the most contaminated site (Poses). Investigations concerning the origins of this contamination were made by means of a longitudinal profile along the Seine River between Paris and Poses. It showed large inputs of norfloxacin, ofloxacin, trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole from wastewater treatment plants, with an increase in norfloxacin and sulfamethoxazole concentrations of 84% and 70% respectively, both reaching 155 ng L(-)(1) in the river, downstream from a wastewater outlet. The detected compounds showed different dissipation patterns and behaviours under different hydrological conditions. Higher inputs of norfloxacin were found in low flow conditions, which were rapidly attenuated along the stream. In contrast, sulfamethoxazole inputs were increasing in high flow conditions, and dissipation of this compound was found to be slow. Similar behaviour was observed for the synergist trimethoprim. Flumequine was also frequently detected and its input increased during flood events.