Gales, heavy rain, and melting snow have combined to flood a number of areas in the west and centre of France.
Gales, heavy rain, and melting snow have combined to flood a number of areas in the west and centre of France. Among the more seriously affected towns is Saintes on the now turbulent River Charente, where almost one quarter of the ancient town is under water and the level continues to rise. Officials describe the situation as "grave".
Many roads in the Charente Valley are washed out, and road communications are seriously disrupted. In Saintes Jan 8, citizens in many parts of the town were taken by boat to the polling stations to record their votes in the Algerian referendum.
Steeped in history, Saintes was a flourishing town before Caesar conquered Gaul. Ancient monuments like the Arc de Triomphe de Germanicus - a Roam relic dating from the reign of Tiberius - are in danger of being damaged, as floodwaters lap around the foundations.