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Paris Suffers Worst Flooding Yet, Forces Closure of the Louvre and Major Landmarks

Jun 07, 2016 06:48 AM EDT
The Louvre
Paris is gripped by the worst flooding in over 100 years, forcing the closure of The Louvre and other major landmarks.
(Photo : Iain Farrell / Flickr)

Paris is gripped by the worst flooding in over 100 years, forcing the closure of The Louvre and other major landmarks.

After days of incessant rains, the River Seine on Friday rose to an alarming 6 meters above its normal level-its highest in more than 30 years-submerging small businesses and riverside roads, and forcing the closure of many establishments.

The Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay, both home to world-renowned art masterpieces and overlooking the Seine, had been closed to the public since Friday. According to Bruno Julliard, Paris' deputy mayor, museum workers had moved artworks stored underground to safety.

Julliard told Reuters that the rising Seine levels was still well below the level that would threaten residents and businesses.

In the Louvre, workers stacked valuable statues, vases and artworks in boxes and crates. World-famous The Mona Lisa, has not been moved as it is kept on the museum's top floor.

A spokesman to the Louvre told the Daily Mail: "The aim is to take works situated in areas vulnerable to flooding to safety by moving them to higher floors." Apart from The Mona Lisa, other world-renowned collections in the museum include the Venus de Milo, Michelangelo's Slaves, and ancient Egyptian treasures.

Seine tourist cruises had been cancelled, including Metro stations such as St. Michel, and scenic walkways along the banks of Seine.

According to Environment Minister Segolene Royal, the floods may take several weeks to subside, and that the flood waters, after it subsides, could reveal further victims.

In Evry-Gregy-sur-Yerre southeast of Paris, a man on horseback reportedly died after being swept away in a swollen river.

"What's going to be even more painful for the families who have lost their homes, the heads of companies who have lost their businesses, the employees who will be unable to go to work, is that the drop in the water level will be very slow," she said.

This is not the first time the River Seine overflowed to the city. In 1910, the river rose to a record high of 8.6 meters, which is known as the Great Flood of Paris.

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