With last week's flooding of the Seine past its worst, experts say, Paris should not be breathing easy, because worse flooding lies ahead in future years, possibly as bad as the great flood of 1910.
Four years ago, Serge Garrigues, then secretary of the Paris Defense Zone warned that “We will have a '100-year-flood'. That’s for sure. The only question is when. A really big flood would last between 10 and 20 days, during which time we wouldn’t be able to do anything, except survive. And any return to normal couldn’t be expected before 45 days."
The same year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development put Paris on its list of world cities most at risk from a catastrophic flood, and said the risk was larger because the city is not sufficiently prepared. The OECD pointed out that many of the city's key assets are located in the most flood-prone areas.
The image above is a computer-generated map, prepared by the Institute of Urban Planning, of what such a flood might look like. Note that only part of the Tuilieries Gardens, at the right are above water; the islands in the river are actually the non-submerged parts of bridges. Large parts of the Champs Elysees would be flooded. Below, a Google Maps image of the area as it is.
Authorities have made some preparations and carried out large-scale drills in the past few years, but OECD and others say it's not yet enough. For more images of what a flood might look like, including video, see TheLocal.fr