Sunday Strolling in Toulouse: the Garonne River

Le Pont Neuf, Garonne Toulousaine

Le Pont Neuf, Garonne Toulousaine

After several weeks of rain and gray weather, the sun finally came out for a while today in between sessions of hide-and-seek with the clouds. It was the perfect time to go out and get a little vitamin D before settling into another week under neon lights and computer screens.

Last week, the Garonne was at flood stage with a height of 3.78 m (right now it’s back down to around 1.2m) and the banks still bore some remnants of the flood this Sunday, making the river walk a little muddier than usual. The flood gates were closed on the right bank after the Pont Neuf (literally the “New Bridge”) and the river, while much lower, was just below the walkway. If you look closely at the photo of the Pont Neuf, you can see a set of holes above the archways. These are called dégeuloirs (a word which could be interpreted as vulgar depending on how you use it because dégeuler means to throw-up and this also means a recipient for throwing-up) and they allow flood waters to run through the bridge, relieving stress on the structure.

Le Pont Saint Pierre and l'hôpital de La Grave.

Le Pont Saint Pierre and l’hôpital de La Grave.

Toulouse’s flood control system consists of parks and walkways on the interior of a levee system which allows for water storage during high flow periods. The river walk is a great place to visit under normal circumstances, and then when it rains a little too much the water can rise into this zone instead of into people’s homes.

An abandoned riverboat seemed to have gotten the worst of the flood – don’t worry it had already sunk several months prior. Sticks and river gunk had invaded its already decrepit hull. A lot of people were taking photos next to it – perhaps sunken riverboats are a rare site…

The sunken riverboat (péniche)

The sunken riverboat (péniche)

In case you were wondering about the budget for this Sunday’s activities – it was 2€ for the two baguettes that we picked up on the way home.

Well, time to get back to my regular Sunday activities – like doing all the things I put off doing during the week.

Until next time, au revoir.


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