Friday, June 03, 2016

Flood threat to Louvre and Musee d'Orsay

Both the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay are currently closed for flood precautions - and because they need to move artwork.

View of  the Musée du Louvre from the roof of the Musée d'Orsay (in 2009)
This shows what it NORMALLY looks like with pathways next to the river
Note how close the museums are to the Seine and the height the water needs to rise to flood them.
I'm currently watching updates on how the level of the Seine is rising due to floodwater.

This is a photo taken yesterday evening looking back the other way - showing the Seine flooding over the top of the pathways along the Seine - with the Musée d'Orsay in the background. (I don't think the person tweeting knows what they are looking at!)

The facts at present are:
  • In 1910, the Seine flooded Paris for over a week! (aka "la Grand Crue de la Seine") - with a record high of 8.6 metres above normal.
  • Yesterday President François Hollande declared the region around Paris a natural disaster area due to flooding resulting from very heavy rain.  More downpours are forecast for the weekend.
  • The River Seine is flooding
    • It burst its banks on Wednesday
    • On Thursday evening, it reached a height of 5.37m above its normal level.
    • It was hoped that it would top out at 6 metres however latest reports suggest that French floods: River Seine in Paris hits critical 6-metre mark - and it's now hope that it will peak at 6.5 metres. [That's because at 6.6 metres they have to start closing stations on the Metro!]
    • Update: it's now reached 6.2 metres and the banks of the Seine are now closed.
    • The Seine is already near the top of the arches under the bridge near the Eiffel Tower
    • Update: The garden at the end of the Ile de Cite is flooded.
  • The museums next to the Seine have closed so they can make plans to move artwork to areas within the Museums unlikely to be affected by any flooding should it happen. (You can't start too early for an exercise like this!)
Both the Louvre and, on the opposite bank of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay, which holds the world’s greatest collection of impressionist masterpieces, have detailed emergency flooding plans.
Both museums organised drills this year to deal with floods. In an alert scenario, the Louvre has 72 hours and the Musée d’Orsay 96 hours to get works held in their underground reserves to safety.
The Guardian | 
Europe floods: Seine could peak at six metres as Louvre closes doors
  • An internal email to staff at the Louvre states
“The museum will remain closed to the public tomorrow [Friday] out of precaution: there is no danger to the public or our staff but will allow us to calmly remove certain art collections should it be necessary”
  • This is a recent Tweet by the Louvre Twitter account

  • and this one from a Seine watcher @josephbamat - apparently the real measure of serious flooding for Parisians is whether or not you can see the soldier at the Alma Bridge - which disappeared in the 1910 flood.

  • This is a very recent video which shows what it's like on the Seine (on Friday) and gives a very clear view (for those of you who recognise them) of the water next to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay

So there's going to be some nail-biting this afternoon and over the weekend.

I wish both Museums well and good luck with putting their Flood Drills into operation.

Updates from the Museums 

For lovers of art in Paris you can follow what's happening on:

News articles

I'll update this with anything significant.

and finally.... let's not forget the Sennelier Shop

The Sennelier shop at 3 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris, France
For Sennelier fans let's not forget that the Sennelier shop we all visit in Paris is located on the Quai Voltaire across the Seine from the Louvre on the same side as the Musee d'Orsay....

Let's hope we don't end up with wet pastels....

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