A 30-Year Record
The level of the Seine was normal only a week ago… And now it has rained so much over the past week, boats can no longer pass under the bridges, the pedestrian pathways (and certain highways that run along the river) are 6 feet under water, and certain local trains (RER C) don’t run through Paris because they are flooded.
Paris’s Favorite Picnic Spot is Under Water
The spot where we had a lovely picnic last week, on one of the islands in the Seine, is now invisible, except for the tops of the trees under which we ate our gyros and fries.
The View One Week Ago…
The Museums are Closed
But perhaps the most shocking to the tourists: the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay are closed. The museums shut down on Friday, June 3rd to protect the artwork that is located in the lower levels from a possible flood inside the building, and then on Friday both announced they would be closed until at least Tuesday the 7th.
With the Seine 20 feet higher than it is usually, other tourist attractions have also closed for now: the Sewer Museum (Musée des Égouts de Paris), and of course all of the tour boats that offer beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame cathedral are parked and can’t be used. The houseboats along the river are also mostly stranded, and the tenants evacuated by the police. Sure, they could probably survive on their boat, but when the food runs out, or when they need to get to work, they can’t just hop onto the dock as they usually would. The docks are under water!
Surprisingly, the Catacombs (those underground passages filled with the bones of Paris’s ancestors) are still open. Because of all the uncertainty, some museums posted on Facebook that they ARE open, just to make sure folks knew they weren’t affected by the flooding.
The rain has affected other things as well. For one, my laundry won’t dry! I’ve had some things hanging for at least 5 days and I can still feel a bit of dampness! 😛
While we had planned to visit the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral on Saturday, when we arrived they were closed to visitors because the rain had temporarily affected the electricity in the building. The whole Cathedral had been evacuated for a short period while the problem was fixed, but when they reopened the sanctuary, the towers remained closed until 10am the next day.
Another thing is that certain metro lines have been affected. Line 4 won’t stop at St. Michel for the time being. And, on Friday, line 6 of the metro was closed at Raspail. All the subway cars going in that direction were going to take TWICE as long to arrive as usual. A 15 minute ride turned into a 30 minute ride. So, we got out and walked the 30 minutes to enjoy the fresh air and the gorgeous architecture along the way.
The bus lines are also a mess, because when the streets are flooded, or there are buildings that have had damage from the rain, the buses can’t get by.
Add to that the recent transportation strike, and you’ve got a real transportation nightmare.
All this as among several of the biggest tourist/sporting events of the year: Roland Garros (the Wimbledon of France), and the UEFA EURO 2016 soccer finals that start on June 10th and last a full month.
It’s also June, which is when hundreds of thousands of vacationers from around the world like to visit Paris and walk along the Seine. What an exceptional trip they’ll have!
Today is Sunday the 5th of June, and it rained again last night. The weather forecast calls for cloudy weather today, and then another three days of thunderstorms. Frankly, I’m looking forward to next weekend when the sun is supposed to come out and the temperatures will be in the mid-70s! 😀