France

Back in 1892, the Tête Rousse glacier on Mount Blanc in southeastern France caused a flood with the spring release of a buried lake within the glacier. The resulting flood killed 175 people below the glacier in the St Gervais valley.

The legendary 1910 flooding of Paris is unusual in that no one died, though damage has been estimated then at 400 million francs, the equivalent today of 1.81 billion euros or 1.5 billion US dollars. The high waters in Paris did not recede for over a month and Parisians resorted to raised walkways or boats to get around the city.

In contrast, the duration of the 1999 flooding of the Blayais nuclear power plant on the southwest coast of France due to winds and tides could be measured in hours. But the event has since caused re-evaluation of many anti-flood measures used at coastal nuclear plants world-wide. Similar storms in September 1968 and December 1981 combined with tidal surges to affect Wales, both sides of the English Channel from Cornwall to Calais and south to Bordeaux along the west coast of France. Deaths from these storms were not limited to drowning — a bicyclist was electrocuted in 1968 in France due to a downed electric wire falling onto a flooded road.

Flods in Somme valley, France
Flooding in the Somme Valley at Abbeville, 2010
Heavy rainfall in June 2010 over southern France caused the worst floods in the region since 1827. Over 400 mm (16 inches) fell within one twenty-four hour period around June 15th. Somewhere between 25 and 40 people died as a result of these floods in the department of Var, with the cities of Figanières, Les Arcs and Roquebrune-sur-Argens especially hard-hit. The high-speed train that normally ran between the cities of Lille and Nice, its cars filled with 300 passengers, was stranded on its track by surrounding floodwaters for a short time. The airport at Toulon-Hyères was also closed. Close to 200,000 homes in the region were left without electricity.