NOT floating books after Paris 1910 flood

The picture in the centre has been shared all over the internet countless times with the suggestion that it shows books floating in the streets of Paris after the 1910 flood.

It doesn’t.

Although this photo has been debunked a long time ago, it keeps popping up as people keep sharing it, so I thought I’d do my bit.

The photo does not show library books on the Rue Jacobs after a fire or a flood but there was a huge flood in Paris in 1910, that much is true.
It was a catastrophe during which the Seine water level rose eight meters above its regular level causing, in today’s money, 1.5 billion dollars of damage!
And the photos of this event are quite sobering.

However, what we have here is a modern person looking at an old photo with something in it they don’t understand or recognise and assume it is something it isn’t.
The shapes in the water may look like books but they are in fact the wooden blocks used at the time for paving.
Wood has been used as pavement for centuries and by the 19th century it was quite common.
Wooden paving for side-walks or streets was relatively cheap, easier to install and didn’t cause such a lot of noise as stone did as horses and carts rode over them.
Eventually of course it went out of favour because it was slippery when wet and unless treated with the rather unpleasant smelling Creosote it also started to rot and decay pretty quickly.
You can imagine what would happen to all these wooden ‘bricks’ in case of a flooding.

Yes what we see on the photo at the top of this article are wooden blocks, not books.

Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to this picture, I only share it here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.

If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall remove it right away.

Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 by Jeffrey Jackson

Thanks & compliments to;
Hoax of fame…
Nick Fitzsimons
Who all beat me to this one.

One thought on “NOT floating books after Paris 1910 flood

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