High Water on the Seine

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The Arsenal lock doors are closed against the level of the river – which is nearly the same as the canal level!

At the gateway from the Seine into the Canal St Martin and the Port-Arsenal, boats pass through a lock which raises them from the lower river level to the higher level of the canal, maybe as much as 3 meters. During the spring floods this can dramatically change.

Seeking higher ground

Seeking higher ground

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This sculpture, usually on very dry land, is deep into the water

It is a wild time on the waterway now.  The Seine and many of the well traveled rivers are rushing about seeking freedom from their banks.  Running away in a sluice through the countryside, sneaking over their brims without warning, the spate put a stop to safe navigation. 

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Never got this high but he is ready . . .

Suddenly the Seine was wild, roiling and rushing from it’s source, filled with two weeks of rain and the melt from higher altitudes that finds its way into the valleys and rivers.  The boats that left the Arsenal a week ago were the last to go until this torrent subsided. Even the commercial traffic was sparse.  At least for a few days.

Waves over the bank

Waves over the bank

Seine-84Muddy river and murky sky, the only boats going out were emergency vessels, police and firemen.  Tour boats, commercial barges, pleasure cruisers – they would wait for another day.  Oh, and the occasional water taxi was poised for action … but unless you’re a duck, how to get to it??

Seine-75There are big old barges moored on the river – private homes, restaurants and jazz barges.  They all have a challenge just getting on an off during this period.

Just as suddenly as it started the high water subsided, the banks were revealed again, the stoney paths around the river were back in pedestrian business.  Life would get back to normal  and the exodus from the port could continue.

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Chasing the flood . . .

And now back to normal??  Seine-100  Ah, Paris!

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