Vintage: Paris Under Water (1910)

Vintage: Paris Under Water (1910)


The 1910 Great Flood of Paris was a catastrophe in which the Seine River, carrying winter rains from its tributaries, flooded Paris agglomeration, France. The Seine water level rose eight meters above the ordinary level.

Winter floods were a normal occurrence in Paris but, on 21 January, the river began to rise more rapidly than normal. Over the course of the following week, thousands of Parisians evacuated their homes as water infiltrated buildings and streets throughout the city shutting down much of Paris’ basic infrastructure. Police, fire-fighters, and soldiers moved through waterlogged streets in boats to rescue stranded residents from second-storey windows and to distribute aid. Refugees gathered in makeshift shelters in churches, schools, and government buildings. Although the water threatened to overflow the tops of the quay walls that line the river, workmen were able to keep the Seine back with hastily built levees.

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Two men travel down the street in an improvised boat. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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A polar bear in the flooded bear enclosure in the Botanical Gardens. Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Rowing down the street in Poitiers (VIIth arrondissement). Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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People skirt the edge of the street on improvised pathways. Image: LL/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Three men talking to people at first floor widows. Image: Rue des Archives/PVDE/Getty Images

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A street of Bourgogne (VIIth arrondissement). Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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A street of the Universite (VIIth arrondissement). Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Paris is transformed into Venice. Image: Boyer/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Boulevard Diderot, XII arrondissement. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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A bearded man stands on a high walkway. Image: Gallica

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People gingerly cross the street on a wooden plank. Image: Gallica

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Avenue Daumesnil. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Avenue Daumesnil. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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The army lays down a wooden walkway. Image: APIC/Getty Images

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A Parisian suburb. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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A uniformed man punts a boat as people at first floor windows look on. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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Boulevard Saint Germain. Image: ND/Roger Viollet/Getty Image

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In front of Gare Saint-Lazare. Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

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The Paris-Limoges express at the station in Choisy-le-Roi (Val-de-Marne). Image: Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images


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