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This is a continuation of my last question about how long it would take the tunnel between the two countries to fall apart. So let's say that there's a group of people who have no more than 17th century technology; how would they get from England to France? I was originally planning for them to take the tunnel, but apparently it would fall into disrepair rather quickly. Another factor to this is that there are government forces patrolling the borders of France, so if they could be unseen that would also be helpful.

Edit: This is in the future, not the 17th century. And the reason I'm assuming they don't know about the people living in Paris (the only city left) is because water levels have risen and there are people preventing them from crossing over.

Background: I've put this in other questions, but I'll include it here as well. At some point there was a plague, and the basic backstory is that a bunch of rich people and inventors came together and created a very prosperous community in Paris. The city is heavily protected, everyone is rich, and they get their resources through mechanical means, so there is no impoverished class. Over time, people were taught that the outsiders (people who had survived) were barbarians. In reality, the city's military, which is separate from the rest of the people, prevents the outsiders from improving their technology or getting to close to the city. My characters live in England, and are some of the people who are restricted from modern technology, and for reasons not included here they find out about Paris. They are understandably curious, and try to get there. My question is how?

Edit #2: There is no nuclear waste or anything environmentally dangerous, just an army with superior weaponry preventing them from going to Paris.

If I forgot anything just ask

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Jan 30 at 9:55
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As it turns out, flooding does not matter. As you can see from the elevation map below, most of the land between the strait and Paris is higher than Paris itself. For Paris to still exist you need less than a 70 meter rise in sea level, but most of the land in between is 120-180 m above sea level. Even if you raise sea level by the maximum you can without destroying Paris, the narrowest part of the strait will barely change its distance, making passage, even by stone age quality boats quite easy. If anything the rise in sea level makes things easier because the flooding could cause a bay to form. This means any casual explorer plotting the coast line could find Paris quite easily.

As a side note, 60-70 m is about how much the oceans would rise if 100% of the world's ice caps were to melt meaning anything that is not in purple or blue on the attached map can not be covered by water even in a worst case scenario. This means even if you melt everything there is to melt and move "New Paris" to higher ground, you still can not meaningfully affect the distance between France and England.

enter image description here

This makes the biggest obstacle Paris's modernized military. As it also turns out wooden boats are really hard to pick up on radar. Civilian wooden boats often need to be equipped with special radar reflectors just to make sure other vessels can see them. For your Paris fleet, this means they will need to rely on visual confirmation to detect small wooden crafts coming in, and if the barbarians choose to use primitive row boats instead of sail, then even visual confirmation will be pretty range limited. In all likelihood, getting close to Paris will be easy. The only challenge will be how to get into it once they are there since the city itself is probably very well guarded and entrances are limited.

At this point it comes down mostly to your own narrative, but with resources acquisition being automated, my guess would be to hop on the back of a robotic freight vehicle and ride it in with the regular traffic.

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    $\begingroup$ It's also not impossible to build a wooden submarine. IIRC it was done during the American Revolution. So basically your Parisian military has the task of detecting, not a whole wooden boat (which as you say is difficult enough), but just a small wooden snorkel & periscope. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 28 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ People have been able to cross stretches of sea for a very long time - they arrived in Australia some 50000 years ago, after crossing something more serious than 'La Manche' ;-) As for getting into Paris - isn't the underground honeycombed with tunnels: catacombs, abandoned mines or whatever? $\endgroup$ – j4nd3r53n Jan 28 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf I considered this too, and yes, wooden submarines did exist in the 17th century (1601-1700), but they were stationary. The 1st propelled one did not come about until 1866. The earliest you could probably build a propelled sub would be 1751 with the invention of the metal lathe. Without metal lathing, you can't really make a submerged propellor systems to the tolerance you need to keep the water out; so, this technology is too advanced per the OP. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Jan 28 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ @j4nd3r53n The catacombs will depend on the size of Paris in the future. While they could make great hiding places once in Paris, if the city limits are as big or bigger than they are now, then the catacombs will not extend beyond the access points to the city to serve as a "back-door". If Paris has gotten smaller, then ruins will extend past the checkpoints, and those catacombs may bypass the perimeter making them a great idea. Also, if global flooding is at or close to "worst case", then the catacombs may be permanently flooded even if the city itself stays above water. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Jan 28 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ Flooding isn't going to be instant. Paris may be situated fairly low, but it's only the Seine river which forms a major problem. That's entirely solvable with enough warning time - divert the Seine upstream, and dam the downstream. The city is wealthy enough today to make that an affordable plan. $\endgroup$ – MSalters Jan 28 at 16:09
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There is always the way they used to:

By Boat. Sail boat, Row Boat, viking longboat, doesn't really matter. The travelers are going to be the Same as smugglers from ages past.

France has a pretty long coastline, so all you really need to do is find a small out of the way cove and drop anchor then take a small rowboat the rest of the way in. The whole coastline cannot be adequately covered, and if you are talking 17th century tech level, communications from the coast back to the nearest population center are going to be necessarily slow. So find a sheltered spot. You might even have a situation where the main boat can only get in so far, and it takes a very small boat to get the rest of the way safely.

Depending on the state of the local guard, a small force of quiet, armed men could overwhelm a small garrison and silence any alarms allowing them to be undetected.

This is an age old technique, used by smugglers, pirates, and other ne'er do wells since the time of the very first import tax.

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    $\begingroup$ Boats are actually much better than the tunnel in cases where you may be unwelcome, even if it didn't collapse. The tunnel is a narrow access point, very easy to secure against unwanted intrusions. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Jan 27 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki-ReinstateMonica yep. The Tunnel is only a good access point if it is totally forgotten and still intact. If one wanted to secure it, just blow up one end. The Coast, however.... That is a lot of Real Estate to cover. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI -Monica come Home Jan 27 at 19:46
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Boats? The Romans did it, sometimes with whole armies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_conquest_of_Britain The Phoenecians did it much earlier, with cargos of tin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenicia And if you're in really good shape, you could swim :-) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_successful_English_Channel_swimmers As for remaining unseen, there's a long history of smuggling between the two countries.

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There once was a guy named Ragnar from Denmark. He and a couple of his best pals built a sailboat without the use of any powered tools and without using any materials they didn't process themselves from natural resources. They then took them on a trip all the way from Denmark along the coast of Germany, the Netherlands and France, up the river Seine and right into Paris. They then collected a large heap of souveniers and sailed all the way back home to Denmark.

This was in the year 845.

If Vikings were able to sail to Paris using 9th century technology, then doing the same thing from England with 17th century technology should be no problem at all.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice understatement about the "large heap of souveniers". :-) $\endgroup$ – David K Jan 29 at 4:03
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They only need a king on board. Why?

Kings Never Drown.

One of the most interesting bits of British Isles mythology is that rulers (originally kings, but it got extended (no surprise) in the Elizabethan era) are rulers because of divine right. God put them on the throne, and God would not allow them to simply drown. William Rufus, son of William the Conquerer, took advantage of this "fact" in 1099 a.d. With a massive storm raging in the English Channel, he demanded that a ship sail out into the storm to carry him to Normandy so he could suppress an uprising there. The captain refused but was convinced after Rufus pointed out that kings never drown. The crew could not refute the point, so they sailed. And the storm immediately died in the channel (likely the eye of the storm passing over). They reached the far side, disembarked, and the storm picked back up.

So if you need old-school tech to cross the channel, just get yourself a ruler (king or queen) and tie him or her to the mast head!

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    $\begingroup$ Kings may be immune to drowining, but crown princes are certainly not. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 28 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP: Nor is anyone else on the boat. If you're a king on a boat and it starts to sink, what's your best course of action? Jump off and float safely to shore while it goes down, of course :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 28 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf That’s why I said to tie him to the mast! :-) $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 28 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ This is right up there with taping buttered toast to a cat's back to invent antigravity xD $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jan 29 at 10:30
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The short answer: it's not possible that no one in England would not know anyone is in France because of things in your very premise and in history.

1) As others have pointed out, much, much earlier than the 17th century with much, much earlier tech, people were aware and traveled to and fro. I'm talking Bronze age. In the B.C.'s.

2) Even barring number 1, if Paris is much more advanced, though restricted, there are always explorers, there are always people who will break the rules or who are curious enough to go forth. And going forth, in this case, is super easy. I mean you can SEE France from England and vice versa. It's only 20 miles or 18 nautical miles. That's important. You can make it in a rowboat for gosh sakes. Pretty much anything that can float and carry people. We've had that tech, long, long before the 1600s.

3) The people in England though--they don't have restrictions.

You have in your premise that the military prevents egress. But Paris is about 180 miles from the nearest point of France to England. And beyond that, the coastline of France is over 2000 miles long. So your military would have to police all of that coast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without being seen, so people in England wouldn't know that people in France exist. Smuggling at least, of which there is a long tradition, is going to happen, and it's unrealistic to say otherwise. You'd need some control and cooperation on the English side, and even then---history tells us it will be happening.

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  • $\begingroup$ Like I said, I'm assuming the coastlines are a lot further away from each other due to rising oceans. What if the people in France put up some sort of hologram? Maybe something that would make them not want to cross? $\endgroup$ – Alexandra Eagle Jan 27 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandraEagle Why would they put a hologram around what's left of islands? As you wrote the distance beetwen island and continent is much greater with much different costaline. You don't row the boat, it goes by itself down the stream to the what is now Pays de la Loire then you go up. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 28 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ As other comments have said, apparently water levels can't get that high ahaha $\endgroup$ – Alexandra Eagle Jan 28 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexandraEagle Define a lot. Distance matters. You don't have a specific distance. What you have now is the English Channel and the distance from England to France. You might as well make it "A random island nation X miles away from the coast of Y." Because even if waters rise the max amount, it's not going to be miles of difference. All I can say is that they are better off guarding the land route rather than the water one. Paris is 180 miles away from the shore... $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Jan 30 at 5:32
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Let's look at it obviously: We have a big water to cross. So we need a floating object, which usually is a boat. Boats are with humanity since the stoneage, starting with unihulls and canooes for fishing and then going to bigger rafts, outrigger-canoes and ships for netfishing, then pure transport vessels were developed. So we can say, that for some reason or another, a somewhat seaworthy vessel will be there.

Realistically, that is all that is needed to cross the channel, but let's just for the exercise assume that the channel is not a possible crossing point because... the Paris commune plastered the whole coast of France with nuclear waste from Le Havre and getting on land anywhere along the channel is a death sentence as you get irradiated to walking Ghost stage by simply being there. Or some other reason.

Now, let's assume that the English have heard of Paris, but they also know that the channel is no way to go because of... reasons. They might have heard rumors of the "Ghostmaker-lands" or something. But they also should know from remains from the pre-fall civilisation, that Britain is an island that lies west of an inland sea, that has a rather steady western wind. With a simple sail, just getting a boat into the water and following the wind from the west will bring our adventurers from southern England towards Belgium, Holland, the Friesland coast of Germany or Denmark. From there, it might be a long trek along the coast to the mythical Paris commune, but they also would most likely get more information as they go.

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  • $\begingroup$ Keeping somewhere impassible by radioactive contamination is tricky; there's always a tradeoff between deadliness and useful operating time, and perhaps more importantly you risk bad weather dumping it back on you.... $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 27 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ There isn't any radioactivity, but maybe, since the other gov't is so advanced, they could make some sort of hologram that makes it look like that? $\endgroup$ – Alexandra Eagle Jan 27 at 20:10
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Simple: Boat from Dover-to-Calais (it's like, (edit:) twenty miles)

Extreme: In the future, there's an ice-age sucking up a lot of the earth's oceanic mass; there's now a land-bridge like during the last ice-age (doggerland)

enter image description here

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