Seine Flooding Causes Residents to Evacuate, and Break Out their Kayaks

The Seine is picturesque… but only when it’s not creeping into your living room.

On early Monday morning, water levels reached a high 19.2 ft (5.84 m), far above the Seine’s usual 5 ft. Around 1,500 have been evacuated from their homes and another 1,500 or so are without electricity in the greater metropolitan Paris area.

Residents, tourists, and commuters are dealing with the closure of seven stations on the RER C line until February 5. Some highways along the Seine have been closed as well. The lower level of the Louvre, housing the Islamic artwork, has been closed to visitors. The Musée d’Orsay and Orangerie, located in the Seine-adjacent Tuileries gardens, are on high alert.

Despite the high water levels, many residents are unperturbed. Residents of Ile-de-Migneaux have seen this kind of flooding before and have responded practically. “A boat, canoe, or kayak, is absolutely necessary depending on the number of people you have to move,” says a resident of the town. A restaurant owner in nearby Poissy continues to serve customers, pulling on chest-high waterproof bib pants to retrieve bottles of wine from his flooded cellar.

Even the Zouave, the statue under the Pont de l’Alma used as an indicator of water level, is calm, despite being thigh-deep in river. A Twitter account for the Zouave presents the statue’s running commentary on the flooding, replying to fans and retweeting water level updates. He’s calm, even witty. To an Tweet from France3 about Métro closures, he responded that he would take Vélib, the city’s bike sharing system.

The city’s police department took an excellent drone video of the river on January 26.

For a full tour of the Seine, the damage, and the flooding, check out the video below.

A close up of a sign


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