The swollen Seine River rose again today, spilling into Paris streets and forcing landmarks to shut down as it surged to its highest levels in nearly 35 years.
Across the city, museums, parks and cemeteries were being closed as the city braced for possible evacuations as it emerged the river was due to peak at five metres above normal overnight.
Authorities shut the Louvre museum, the national library, the Orsay museum and the Grand Palais, Paris’ striking glass-and-steel topped exhibition centre.
“We evaluate the situation for all the cultural buildings nearly hour-by-hour,” said culture minister Audrey Azouley. “We don’t know yet the evolution of the level of the Seine River in Paris.”
At the Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, curators scrambled to move about 250,000 artworks from basement storage areas at risk of flooding to safer areas upstairs.
Nearly a week of heavy rain has led to serious flooding across a swathe of Europe, leaving 15 people dead and others missing.
Although the rain has tapered off in some areas, floodwater levels are still climbing.
Traffic in the French capital was snarled as flooding choked roads and several railway stations shut down.
Basements and apartments in the capital’s well-to-do 16th district began to flood this afternoon as the river crept higher.
Elsewhere in Europe, authorities were counting the cost of the floods as they waded through muddy streets and waterlogged homes.
German authorities said the body of a 65-year-old man was found overnight in the town of Simbach am Inn, bringing the country’s death toll over recent days to ten.
France’s interior ministry also reported the death of a 74-year-old man who fell from his horse and drowned in a river in the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris, the second death in France.
In eastern Romania, two people died and 200 people were evacuated from their homes as floods swept the area.
And in Belgium, rescue workers found the body of a beekeeper who was swept away by rising waters while trying to protect his hives in the village of Harsin.