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Photos Capture Historic Paris Flooding Along Seine River

Curators’ corner

Photos Capture Historic Paris Flooding Along Seine River

In New York, the first week of June is typically welcomed with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, a curbside brunch, or a picnic in the park. In Paris, one might fancy a stroll down the Champs-Élysées, or a glass of champagne overlooking the Seine River. That wasn’t the case last month, though, when Parisians were evacuated by raft because of torrential rain and river flooding. Several people died, and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared a state of emergency.

After relentless rainfall pelted East Paris and parts of the countryside from Wednesday, June 1, to Friday, June 3, the Seine rose to its highest levels since 1982. Not only did the rain inundate and essentially shut down the city; it also endangered historical cultural centers, like the Louvre, where officials shuttered the museum’s doors and raised artwork to higher levels.

As the rain persisted, workers took measures to protect the functionality of the city’s underground electrical transformer station, ensuring that 80,000 people would at least have power. Meanwhile, 20,000 households across the country were not so lucky and ended up without electricity.

The water levels on the river crested at 20 feet before finally going down, and although the flooding has seized, many are worried about the city’s vulnerability in the next flood of the century–which is pretty much more of a “when” than an “if.”

During events like these, photography becomes the prime medium for documentation, newsgathering and surrealism all at once. Check out a few of the most telling images from the Seine River flooding below.

Fog covers the top of the Eiffel Tower as rainy weather continues in Paris

Photo by Jacky Naegeien/Retuers

A couple exchanges kisses on the bank as high waters causes flooding along the Seine River in Paris

Photo by Charles Platiau/Reuters

A man walks on a flooded road near his houseboat moored near the Eiffel towel during flooding on the banks of the Seine River in Paris

Photo by Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The feet of the Zouave statue on the Pont de l'Alma are covered by the rising waters from the Seine River after days of rainy weather in Paris

Photo by Rossignol/Reuters

IMAGE 5-SEINE

Photo by Thierry Orban/Getty Images

Workers remove palm trees from the banks as high waters causes flooding along the Seine River in Paris

Photo by Charles Platiau/Reuters

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