Level headed

Sea level marker

Sea level marker

We usually take a couple walks a day plus a few other quick outings down by the river for Heather’s breaks. There are the “must” excursions to the open-air market for fresh produce or the bakery for some croissants, for example and then the pleasure walks that get us out exploring medieval streets, open countryside along the canal, or pathways beside the river. On a recent walk inside the Bastide, the part of Carcassonne that was founded in 1240 and used to be totally encircled by a thick stone wall, we saw the plaque seen here in this picture and wondered what it was.

You might not be able to read these words in metal but given that they’ve been there on the wall since the early 1800s I’m surprised that there’s anything left at all. In translation, it says “Marked Below/Sea Level/Carcassonne/107.00” indicating that at that spot in the city, we were 107 meters (330 feet) above sea level with Marseilles being the zero point on the Mediterranean Sea.

Flood level marker

Flood level marker

Speaking of rising waters, we took the other photo from the Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) that marks flood levels from a few different years. The top one is almost 8 meters (26 feet) which would have put the water lapping at our feet had we been there in 1891.

The floods you see documented on that marker were pretty devastating to the community, as you might expect. The mills were washed away at least twice and had to be rebuilt to ensure a supply of flour for the town. The most recent major event was in 1999 when an area near us received in 2 days an entire year’s worth of rain. We already have the online flood plain map bookmarked to use when house hunting.

About Bob

While living in North, Central and South America, in the middle of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, and now in Europe, my passion has remained the same: travel and meeting new friends.

Posted on April 29, 2016, in Life in France and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Bob, I stumbled across your blog while planning for our month long stay in Carcassonne this June. I truly appreciate your insights and humor. Looking forward to getting to know your town while doing a bit of work. We will be in an apartment on the Place Carnot! Sincerely, Sue and Michael

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