Verdanson, Montpellier

In the southern French region of Occitanie, the second largest city is Montpellier, located near the Mediterranean coast. Running through the city is a graffiti-covered concrete channel carrying the Verdanson River.

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Like the Los Angeles River, this concrete course sees only a trickle for much of the year, but when it rains it pours, and fills up nearly the entire basin with a torrent rushing to the sea. Continue reading

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Peugue River, Bordeaux

When researching cities with hidden waterways, most have examples that were forced underground in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the western French city of Bordeaux, there are two hidden streams that haven’t seen daylight in centuries.

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Above is a map of Bordeaux drafted shortly before the French Revolution. Two rivers are seen flowing towards it. The Peugue in dark blue and the Devèze in aqua. At the city’s edge, they disappear beneath the streets on their way to the Garonne River.

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La Bièvre, Paris

Among the great cities of the world is the French capital, built around two isles on the Seine River, expanded over the centuries in concentric circles and enhanced with canals. Its parks contain naturalistic decorative lakes but beneath the neighborhood and on the routes of certain streams are traces of ancient waterways lost to history.

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One such example is La Bièvre, a stream that flowed through the city’s southern side, beginning in a natural setting but then concealed in underground conduits on its way to the Seine. The above photo was taken in 1862 by Charles Marville and can be found in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Continue reading