On Friday, 3rd March 2016, the Seine River reached its highest water level in Paris : 6.30 m above its usual level. Though it wasn’t the flood of the century that some newspapers had expected, the reality of it made more impressive than any of the past predictions could ever have.
The roads on the banks of the Seine River were flooded. The RER C line had to be shut down because of water infiltrations near Javel station. The museums of Paris that are located near the Seine River (such as the Louvres and Quai d’Orsay) moved their collections to safer places. However, fortunately, no major damage is to be deplored in Paris, contrary to the cities upstream who had it tougher, like Nemours, where habitations were affected.
Even though none rejoiced at the catastrophic yet tamed situation, many, including me, took the opportunity to take some unusual shots of Paris. Most of the bridges were therefore overcrowded with Parisians and tourists trying to take pictures of a flooded Paris we hope we won’t see again before long.
All in all, I have taken 4 photos of this historic event, though I’ve decided I would only share the picture at the head of this article, since I find it more powerful alone.
I took this photo of a streetlight with water rising almost to the top of it on Île Saint-Louis. The place is already famous for being one of the most romantic spots in Paris, and with the flooding, it also became one of the most photographed spots of the city. I tried to be a bit original, and decided to take a long-exposure shot of the scene, in black and white, in daylight. It gives the shot a timeless atmosphere, almost unreal, and that’s exactly what I was looking for : I wanted to take a shot that would be timeless, like a memory, which is a timeless recollection of a precise moment. Even though a picture has no sound, I find it still sounds silent, the kind of silence you generally hear in the aftermath of catastrophic events. Even though I could have taken a thousand other pictures, I guess I would still pick this one as my best photo of Paris flood in June 2016.