Riparian ecosystems are highly dynamic and are subject to hydrogeomorphological processes. In Europe, the lower Allier River (France) is one of the last remaining meandering rivers with laterally dynamic sections. For this study, we developed an original method to analyse the vegetation assemblages and succession processes. The analysis includes both spatial and temporal evolution in order to evaluate the shifting paradigm of habitat mosaic at the study site over a 60-year period. On the long-term, floods with low recurrence intervals tend to be important for small scale habitat changes, whereas major flood events lead to major habitat changes. Flood events did not change the overall habitat composition of the active tract but their spatial distribution. The lack of major hydrogeomorphological disturbance observed during the last two decades, however, led to a higher stability of floodplain ecotopes.