La decrue

After all the excitement of the last week, the flooding went away as quickly as it disappeared. By Thursday morning there was only a little bit of water left in our entrance. The gardiens quickly rebuilt the little walkway and the clean up started right away.

Mostly mud, hardly any water left.

Mostly mud, hardly any water left.

We made a quick trip to the supermarket and checked out the Yvette water levels. There was hardly any flooding anymore, compared to earlier.

Chemin des foulons

Access to the bridge had been blocked by the city of Palaiseau.

chemin de grimpré

The criss crossing ribbons seemed a bit over the top, I thought. But when we went back a few hours later they had been all torn down, the barrier moved out of the way and the signs were ignored by all. The entrance to the park was similarly blocked and the barrier similarly ignored.

At least one big tree was uprooted during the flood and had to be cut up.

tree stumps and mud

We also saw a lot of uprooted elderberry bushes by the side of the Yvette. And generally a lot of mud, plastic bags, leaves and things stuck to fences and hedges.

post flood debris

We haven’t seen or heard the geese since Wednesday, but we were very relieved to spot a quick glimpse of a nutria on our walk and we saw that the ducklings made it as well.

I had told our landlady about the flood on Tuesday night. When we talked to her on Thursday she said that it’s the third time the building was flooded. It had happened before in 1978, then 1999 and again in 2016.

By the evening the lobby was cleaned and only the smell remained. On Friday I went back to my French course and upon my return found a leaflet in our post box. The city was really well prepared and had reacted quickly. They had installed three areas where people could get gloves, bin bags and brooms and dump their waste. One was directly across from our house. The neighbours had started the clean up of the cellars already.

As everything went back to normal in Palaiseau, Paris was only starting. The flood had reached the Seine and everyone was watching the Zouave du pont de l’alma (German Wikipedia link). It’s a sculpture on an important Seine bridge that was completely underwater in the big flood of 1910. He’s an inofficial flood marker for the Seine ever since. I remember hearing about the sculpture when I did the boat tour with my mum. This time around he was up to his hips in water, which meant a closing down of the 2 metro lines and the RER stop St Michel/Notre Dame. It also meant the Louvre and musee d’Orsay were closed so that the lower storeys could be evacuated if necessary and everyone prepared for the worst.

The water stopped rising at about 6.10m, though, so about 8 cm lower than the big flood of 1982. Today the flood is stabilised at about 5.80 m and isn’t expected to rise anymore despite more rainfall in most of France.

The prime minister is calling for an end of the strikes in the face of the flood (and more importantly, the football championship that’s about to start, but shhhh!), but I suspect that won’t happen. I can’t complain, though, I didn’t even notice that there was a shortage of petrol in Île de France (how would I?) and even with the strike there are trains to Paris, just not as many.

The weekend before was pretty tough, because on top of the ongoing strike a lorry fell onto the train tracks in Massy and burned out. Over the weekend there was only a bus replacement service between Palaiseau and Massy while they fixed the tracks. When we took the train home from Paris with our guest on that Friday night, there was a woman who suddenly started asking who this luggage belonged to.  For a minute everyone on that train started to worry and think the train line would experience the holy trifecta of transportation fuckups: Strike, accident and unattended luggage. This time around it was averted by somebody claiming the luggage, but forgotten items regularly shut down lines for an hour or so.

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