Praise the Gods! The sun has returned to our fair city. I can’t tell you the joy I feel, as the sunshine streams in through my apartment windows after what certainly feels like months of endless grey skies and gloom. Granted the constant rain did manage to cleanse the urine-soaked streets of Paris – the city has never smelt cleaner – but the excess water has caused any number of problems.
According to Parisian tradition, one can assess the risk of flooding by simply regarding whereabouts the water level reaches in relation to a particular statue – Le Zouave – under the Pont de l’Alma. So, when Le Zouave a les pieds dans l’eau (He has his feet in the water) you know that it’s already getting pretty bad. This year, not only did his toes get wet, but, by the time the Seine peaked at just over six metres, he was enjoying a proper soaking. Indeed, I dare say that a good many Parisians are breathing easier now that the waters have slowly begun to recede back down his stony form.
Thankfully, Paris appears to have escaped somewhat unscathed this time, although the same can’t be said for a good many other French and German cities, who have felt the brunt of Mother Nature’s fickle disposition over the past week, losing not just property and business but, in some tragic cases, human life itself.
Even though, we didn’t reach the catastrophic levels of the great flood of 1910, there was still a certain amount of damage inflicted upon my beloved city – with submerged roads and train lines playing havoc with the transportation system, and severe flooding in the outlying areas. Not to mention the temporary closing of the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay and Grand Palais in order to ensure that precious works of art could be moved to higher ground, which wasn’t particularly conducive for tourism.
On the bright side, it has given people something to talk about, look at and – perhaps most importantly – photograph incessantly to post on social media…my good self included. Despite all the barricades blocking the stairways and ramps down to the rushing water, people still managed to climb on down to the edge to get the perfect shot. Truthfully, I had been hoping to get the ultimate photo – one of those hapless photographers actually falling into the Seine – but alas, it was not to be.
Of course, now that the weather has settled down into more spring-like conditions I can finally get back to the important business of working on my tan – although I may have to wait just a little bit before my favourite sunbaking spot by Quai de la Râpée is no longer underwater. Ah…c’est la vie!