What Paris Really Looks Like When It Floods

  • 01 of 06

    Paris Prepares for Floods Once Again

    Heavy Rain Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Etienne De Malglaive / Contributor/Getty Images

    Update: Paris is preparing for a deluge from its Seine River, but this isn't the first time the city has dealt with rising waters. The river floods to some extent every year, but current conditions are lining up to produce some of the highest waters experienced in recent years. Here's a look at what the city looked like when the Seine overflowed to a similar extent back in the summer of 2016.

    Paris' Seine River took center stage in the city as its waters reached the highest levels since December 1982 in June of 2016, prompting renowned museums, road and railways, government buildings and attractions across France to prepare for the worst. Floodwaters reached peak levels on Saturday morning and began to slowly recede, but the aftermath of heavy rain remains apparent. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Museums Scramble to Save Precious Works

    Heavy Rain Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Contributor/Getty Images

    At the city's famous Pont de l'Alma bridge, the iconic Zouave acted once again as a flood measurement device as the Seine's muddy waters rose to the statue's waistline. The nearby Louvre and Musee d'Orsay museums shuttered to begin the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of priceless pieces of art from underground store rooms and ground levels to upper floors. 

    The Louvre moved quickly to move 150,000 works out of harm's way and the museum remained closed for days, even after the river's waters began to recede. The New York Times reported that no water entered the Louvre, but the Musee d'Orsay did see minor infiltration on an underground level after moving 7000 artworks, including 1000 paintings, 300 pastels and 600 sculptures.

    The Grand Palais exhibition hall, built for the 1900 World's Fair and now host to temporary art show and events, reopened a few days after it was also forced to close and relocate a current exhibition by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. 

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  • 03 of 06

    River Tourism Takes a Hit

    Heavy Rain Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Etienne De Malglaive / Contributor/Getty Images

    Unsurprisingly, the rising waters made it difficult for tourists to enjoy Paris' typically bustling riverfront. Barges and tour-boats that ply the waterway are unable to pass underneath the Seine's many bridges, and waterside restaurants were waterlogged. 

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  • 04 of 06

    A Rare Photo-Op Arises

    Tourists and Parisians Come to See & Photograph the Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Kristy Sparow / Contributor/Getty Images

    But, a different type of tourism sprung up on the river's banks—visitors flocked to the Seine's edge to take photos of the rising waters, despite warnings waged by Paris' Deputy Mayor, Colombe Brossel. “There are still people going on the riverbanks to take pictures," Brossel said of the situation. "It is not safe. We are asking you to respect the ban on going there.”

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  • 05 of 06

    Roads and Railways See Closures and Suspensions

    Heavy Rain Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Thierry Chesnot / Stringer/Getty Images

    Roads and railways were also crippled in and around Paris. Several stations on the Metro saw closures due to flooding, and around 300 cars were abandoned on a highway south of Paris, which are now being recovered and returned. 

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  • 06 of 06

    Effects of the Extreme Weather Are Also Felt Elsewhere

    Heavy Rain Flooded Parts Of Paris
    Thierry Orban / Contributor/Getty Images

    Across the country, approximately 20,000 homes were without power during the floods in 2016, and a handful of residents fell victim to the dangerous floods. Suburban areas south of Paris were hit particularly hard, and historic castles and buildings in the Loire Valley were forced to close and brace for flooding.

    Officials estimated that it could take up to 10 days for the river to recede to normal water level after reaching its peak level of 20 feet.