at the foot of Notre-Dame, the Seine and its secrets


The Seine, near Notre-Dame de Paris, July 17, 2023.
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP

CRITICAL – In the archaeological crypt of the Île de la Cité, the river is told in one hundred and fifty historical objects taken out of its waters.

“Vienna the night strikes the hour, / The days go away I remain…” Each of the 150 objects gathered in Paris, in the Archaeological crypt of the Île de la Citéseems to whisper to us The mirabeau Bridge, by Apollinaire. All of them, found in the Seine, tell the story of the river. From prehistory to the present. At least a rewarding story… Because it’s about looking good on the eve of the Olympic Games and deadlines set in terms of ecology.

So we will know nothing at the end of this journey, as wise as an illustrated science book, about today’s ills (more than 350 tonnes of waste collected per year). None pyramid of scooters, no greenish tangles of Vélib’, Caddy, plastic objects… If the river brigade is entitled to a beautiful portrait, this is not the case for the workshop barge which, every morning, collects bulky items from the banks or fishes them out from the bottom of the bed. We will not know more about the floating booms, the retention and filtering activity. The precise state of…

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