Flooding time in Paris. This post will be followed by several more of mostly photos. I am sure I cannot do justice to the even with mere words. At least not my mere words.
Be-fore and after
It’s been raining a lot! Really a lot! But I didn’t realize the impact on the Seine until I was in Rouen for the night and heard on the news that officials had closed the Seine to boat traffic.
And when I got back in Paris on Wednesday, I dropped by bag at home and headed off for the Seine.
First, understand that the Seine flows through Paris in a meandering curve. And here in Paris it lays between two brick walls. You may have heard of the Paris Plage which means Paris Beach, an event each July-August. But it’s no beach. They truck in sand to put on the quais for people to make sand castles and sit in the sun. And then at the end, they truck the sand out again and the quai reverts back to the tarmac.
One side of the Seine is closed to car traffic. Instead, the former road is now the berges – means bank. And the berges have places to sit, restaurants, chess and puzzle and game tables, exercise spots. You name it – if it’s relaxation, there’s a spot for it. The other side has some traffic areas, but not the whole length. Maybe through tunnels. (Where Princess Di died.)
Now everything is under water.
Parisiens measure the seriousness of the flood by where the water hits a statue standing in front of the Pont de l’Alma. The statue is called Zouave – for a military troop from the Crimean war. There used to be four such guys but they redid the bridge in the seventies and only left one. The GREAT FLOOD of 1910 had water up to his neck! The cruise boats will point him out and say that water lapping at his feet is high water.
Yesterday water was at his thighs. Of course, there’s also a bit of a discrepancy about the old height of Zouave and the current height. I read somewhere that he was placed a bit higher when he went back in the seventies. Oh well. Oh, BTW the crest was about 6.1 meters. That’s TWENTY FEET.
(And quick aside – today a French lady asked me if I lived in Paris and did I know how to get to the Zouave! Yes! I love to be mistaken for a Frenchie. And I could say yes and tell her how and all in French. Made my day.)
No matter. The water is high! No question. Fortunately, it crested last night. Starting to go down by centimeters and will take a week or more to get back to normal. That’s not including more rain – which is in the forecast.
My place is fine. In fact, most of Paris is fine. Yes, you read that the Louvre and the d’Orsay both closed to protect artwork. But that was simply precautionary. And certainly significant. But they were moving pieces in storage to higher floors. Nothing damaged yet. And doubtful that it will be. Well, except for the schedules of the tourists who wanted to go to either or both.
I have only heard of one street in Paris that has been flooded. Many cellars (caves) may have some water. And two metro stops – St. Michel and Cluny – were closed. As was the RER C line that runs along the Seine between Invalides and Eiffel Tower. More worrisome is the telephone and electricity which would have been impacted with another meter of water.
The strikes have been far more disruptive.