A 200-year overview of significant floods in France

Learning from the past to better prepare for future events : that is the goal of the book Significant Floods in France. Almost 175 floods have been documented in this new inventory, carried out at the same time as the European Floods Directive (2011) went into effect. Michel Lang, hydrologist at Irstea, coordinated the book.

The massive scale of the flooding of the Garonne and its tributaries in June 1875 and of the storm Xynthia in February 2010 has left a lasting impression. The book, Significant Floods in France – 2011 Inventory for the EU Floods Directive, published by Editions Quae, gathers information on almost 175 floods from 1770 to 2011. More than 200 years of floods later, what have we learned ?

Editions QuaeThe book is organized by major areas : Adour-Garonne, Artois-Picardy, Loire-Brittany, Rhône-Mediterranean and Corsica, Seine-Normandy. The last chapter discusses the 5 overseas departments (Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion). For each geographical area, the general characteristics of floods are exposed ((typology, origin, flooded areas) as well as the main main issues and challenges. Finally, key statistics have been used to give an order of magnitude for observed impacts and consequences, both in terms of human loss and material damages.

Hydrology & land use

Michel LangMichel Lang, a hydrologist at Irstea specializing in the study of extreme floods, has coordinated a book alongside Denis Cœur, a historian in land use specializing in flood-related issues. The result is over 500 pages of information and references on these extreme events, along with many illustrations (tracking maps, etc.).

This compilation for all the French territories complements the preceding national summary drawn up by Maurice Champion (1858-1864). It also represents the first step in updating the Flood Risk Management Plan (PGRI) by the end of 2015. The work targets the various stakeholders in flood risk prevention as well as anyone interested in recalling past floods.

Further information on the book

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