Back in June 2016 we spent a few days in Paris. During our visit a major rain event throughout Europe meant that the River Seine had its worst flooding for years. Below is an extract from our blog which first appeared on A Pair Travelling (8 and 9 June 2016).
We searched for the Eiffel tower but could not find her. She was shrouded in mist and cloud. With every turn of each quintessential Parisienne Avenue she was not there.
All the walkways and embankments by the River Seine had disappeared with the Seine reaching a peak of 6.07m, the highest level in 30 odd years. This was the time of the Strikes against employment law reforms in the El Khomri bill and Euro2016. Add in the weather and the French Nation’s Capital was a little crazier than usual!
We kept bumping into protests, with the first being a very civil affair with striking workers being out numbered about two to one by Gendarmes in full riot gear. The Gendarmes had separated the workers into groups of 10 so that when we came out of Les Invalides train station we ended up in the middle. The Gendarmes and workers were talking and joking with each other – very different to the TV footage we were seeing every night on the news.
Another protest was near the Notre-Dame de Paris. We had biked over using Velib Paris’s self-service bike system to the Cathedral to visit the markets but they had all shut up shop due to the heavy rain. This time the Gendarmes had not split the strikers up but surrounded the whole rally. Interestingly, at no time did we feel unwelcome or unsafe.
Our trip to the Louvre had been interrupted by the flooding, with all private tours sadly cancelled. It was still open to individuals so we headed in. The museum was closed the following day as the flooding required works at risk of damage to be moved to higher parts of the gallery.
The Louvre is OMG huge. We hadn’t any plan as we were counting on the guide giving us a tour, so we spent the first 30 minutes coming to grips with how huge the place was and arguing over the best plan of attack. We ended up doing a highlights self-guided tour which meant that we got to see large numbers of people taking selfies with the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.
It’s about this time that we got what I like to call ‘Ikea Panic’. You first arrive all bright eyed and excited with endless possibilities. New experiences wait so you grab your trusty map and start to explore. So many amazing things to look at and so many people make for an exciting buzz. With every turn there is more, and more, and more. You haven’t brought water, and a loo would be nice but you can’t find the exit let alone a loo. They are making you walk through more rooms to get to the exit. Then you have to go through the shop to get out…that’s about when the IKEA Panic sets in…….GET ME OUT OF HERE!