Flooding Hits The Historic Architecture of the French Capital


Floods are destructible forces of nature and are unpredictable and fast occurring. Floods happen every year and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to home owners and to industry. The destruction can cause loss of both monetary and sentimental value. Despite technology forever advancing there are still not any extremely effective flood defences. Recently there have been flash floods in Houston and Paris that have caused millions of dollars and euros worth of damage respectively.  Properties have been destroyed, work has been disrupted, and most significantly people have died.

Paris has been moved to a standstill. Over twenty thousand people have had to be evacuated from their homes and just fewer than twenty thousand homes are without electricity. At least two people have died including a man on horseback who was swept away by the flash flood. Officials are considerably worried for older and immobile people who struggle to get around the house as they are at the greatest risk of being caught out by the flash floods. The flooding is the worst France has seen in the last hundred years

The water will slowly recede. The Seine burst its banks and the water had no safe place to go so with sewers overflown it hit the streets. There are still very few options for the water to go so it will take a few weeks for the water to reside. Water pumps are being used where possible to try to move the water to fields away from homes Inflatable barriers are also being used to try to direct the water away from housing and factories. The damage to the economy is still increasing as downtown France is rendered inoperable and work is cancelled for thousands. The main priority of the people of France is food and electricity. The only fortunate aspect of the flooding is that it has arrived in the summer meaning that people aren’t struggling excessively to stay warm.

Antonio Carracci (1583-1618) The Flood (1616-1618) Paris, Louvre

The last major flooding of France’s capital was in 1910 when the river swelled to over eight metres and water flooded into tunnels and streets casing temporary footbridges to be built to help people get out of the city. The current height of the Seine is not as high as 1910 but the damage is equal. Art from the Louvre has been safely procured and stored in areas that the water can’t reach. The museum has protocols for nearly every type of disaster so the flooding has been prevented from destroying invaluable artworks. The mayor has had crisis meetings and says there is not risk to the population but has warned that it will take time for the water to recede.