The Great Paris Flood of 2016 is bad for tourism but quite the spectacle. And yet it’s nothing compared to the flood of 1910 when the Seine rose 28 and 1/2 feet (8.62 meters) above its normal level. The Seine levels are currently dropping. They had been at 6 meters (just shy of 20 feet) above normal. No tour boats, lots of bankside gawking, tons of mud and debris in certain areas. But the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay have not been flooded, and life will go on.
I regard Paris as a kind of second home. I feel a greater spiritual affinity with Paris than I do with New York or (God forbid) Los Angeles. If I could figure a way to make Hollywood Elsewhere a viable Paris-based business (i.e., live there and visit the U.S. for major festivals like Sundance, Telluride and whatnot) I would probably do that, but I can’t. Posting from Paris would make the column feel more than a bit marginal. You have to live and post from the belly of the beast. To be an American business you have to absorb the American experience with all of its grandeur and banality — you can’t phone it in.