Sunday, March 18

La Seine

I'm in Paris for meetings tomorrow. It is windy and cold with a storm arriving tomorrow (snow in London? the cabby asks). This photo taken as the river winds by Place de la Concorde in the 8th arrondisement.

I learn that the average depth of the Seine at Paris is about eight metres. Until locks were installed to artificially raise the level in the 1800s, however, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, and consisted only of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks (visible in many illustrations of the period). Today depth is tightly controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is normally filled with water. The average flow of the river is very low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. A very severe period of high water in January 1910 produced extensive flooding throughout the city. Until the 1930s, a towing system using a chain on the bed of the river existed to facilitate movement of barges upriver.

Map from Wikipedia.