Water in Paris – part 8: 2016 flood

"Current" Events never was a more appropriate term. Here are a few photos from past years juxatposed with photos from the last few days of the Paris flood 2016. Feel free to send us your own photos, expecially if you have some from outside Paris. submissions@fusac.org Pont Mirabeau's statues that represent navigation on the river are really navigating it right now. Read more about the bridge here. Or maybe just trying to climb to safety. Does anyone know what the pompiers were up to here on Friday afternoon? We couldn't figure it out. How can a piece of a bridge look so big one day and so small the next? The photos give perspective. Read more about what a Zouave is and why this particular statue is famous in Paris here. This article is part of a  series on Water in Paris. Past installments were. Part 1: La Seine Part 2: Drinking water Part 3: Non-Drinking water Part 4: Crossing the Seine Part 5: Canals Part 6: Tidbits Part 7 : Speak Easy, idomati…
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Water in Paris Part 7: Speak Easy

Water in Paris Part 7: Speak Easy Concluding our series of articles on water in Paris here is a Speak Easy of idiomatic expressions using water. Match the English word or expression with the French. Did you know that there are three volumes of Speak Easy Puzzles in books? They are available at the FUSAC office or via our online store or in the FUSAC Book Room. Great for learning idiomatic expressions in French and English. "La Seine a de la chance Elle n'a pas de souci Elle se la coule douce Le jour comme la nuit." "Chanson de la Seine", Poème de Jacques Prévert 1951 (Se la couler douce = to chill, la dolce vita, to have no worries) This article is the last in a seven part series on Water in Paris. Part 1: La Seine Part 2: Drinking water Part 3: Non-Drinking water Part 4: Crossing the Seine Part 5: Canals Part 6: Tidbits Part 7 : Speak Easy, idomatic expressions using water
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Water in Paris, part 6: Tidbits

Water in Paris, Part 6: Tidbits Continuing our series of  articles on water in Paris here we present a list of odds and ends or tidbits about and around water in Paris. The motto of Paris « Fluctuat nec mergitur » is closely linked to the Seine. It is a Latin phrase which means  Tossed by the waves, but never sinks. In French Il est battu par les flots, mais ne sombre pas. The motto dates from antiquity and was used, along with a ship, on the arms of the corporation des Nautes (the water merchants). The first recorded flood of Paris was in 585. The original bateaux-mouches dating from the 19th century were named for Mouche, a section of the city of Lyon where they were built. Bathhouses were first created along the Seine in 1688. The first warm baths were available in 1761 and in 1785 the first swimming area was created along with the first swimming school in the world. The quays of the Seine are a UNESCO World Heritage site from pont de Sully to pont d'Iéna. 200,000 yea…
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Water in Paris, Part 5: The Paris Canals

Water in Paris Part 5: The Paris Canals The city of Paris is the proprietor of and responsible for a fluvial network of 130km of canals which cross 5 departments (Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Oise and Aisne) and two regions (Île-de-France et Picardie). There are three canals that interconnect: canal de l’Ourcq brings in water from the rivers Ourcq and Marne to feed the canals Saint Martin and Saint Denis. The construction of the Paris canal network was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802 as a way of providing fresh water to Paris which was out-growing its sources. It was also instrumental in transporting goods including food and building materials by boat, with two ports established at the Port de l'Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette. This was the first time that the same waterway was to be used for navigation and drinking water. It took 23 years to complete the network of canals. Rest assured the canal water is no longer used for drinking water, but it is still make…
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Water in Paris, Part 4: Crossing the Seine

Water in Paris, Part 4: Crossing the Seine The first bridges were wooden constructions in the middle ages. They were lined with shops and houses. They were easily destroyed by floods or fire or sometimes deliberately to prevent invasion. Seven bridges were added in the 17th century of which three remain: Pont-neuf, pont Marie and pont Royal. Today the Seine is crossed by 37 bridges in the nearly 13 kilometers that it runs through Paris.  For a complete list see Wikipedia, but here’s a few of our personal favorites. The Pont d'Alma, while not overly pretty does have an interesting sculpture. The bridge was originally constructed in 1855 in stone and commemorated the 1854 Franco-English victory over Russia at Alma. The original bridge was thus decorated with four statues that represented the four armies that fought at Alma. There was a Grenadier, a Zouave (north African foot soldier), a Chasseur and an Artilleur. The Zouave became, over time, the unofficial scale by which leve…
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Water in Paris, Part 3: Non-Drinking water

A series on Water in Paris. Part 3: Non-Drinking water In the 19th century, Baron Haussmann, who was in charge of reorganizing Paris to make it more sanitary hired Eugène Belgrand as Director of Water and Sewers. Mr Belgrand with great foresight created not one but two water systems. One of course for treated drinking water which is expensively processed stuff and the other a network of non-potable from the canal Saint Martin and the Seine. The less expensive untreated water is used for watering parks, decorative fountains and cleaning the streets. There are 12,000  bouches de lavage from which water flows into the gutter. They are turned on by sanitation workers with green brooms and directed by soggy rolls of old carpet. The water flow and the green broom push the accumulated debris along to the sewer openings. Tout un système! The non-potable water is also used in the high pressure sprayers that clean up after markets and festivals. 1 600 kilometers of streets are sprayed …
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