Seine still rising in Paris; Louvre partially closed

Rising Seine River Poses Flood Risk, Nearly 1500 Evacuated In Paris Region

Authorities say some parts and suburbs of Paris are under water, and expect flood levels to remain high throughout the week.

Floodwaters have reached a peak in Paris and are threatening towns downstream along the rain-engorged Seine River.

About 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes in the Paris region because of the flooding and a similar number are without electricity.

In normal times, the river measures about 5 feet on the Austerlitz scale.

But the world's most visited museum was on high alert on Sunday, along with the Musee d'Orsay and Orangerie galleries, with the lower level of the Louvre's Islamic arts wing closed to visitors at least until Monday. They are waiting for the waters to recede to allow the first estimates of the financial cost of the flooding to be made.

The Seine's water level will remain high for several days as grounds and lakes are saturated.

Outside, where the river was almost lapping the tyres of parked vehicles, a young woman said it was "great to see ducks instead of cars".

In the prestigious 16th Arrondissement (district), some basements in residential buildings were slowly being inundated.

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Some basements in Paris began to see leaks on Friday, and a health centre in the northwestern suburbs, where 86 patients were receiving care, was evacuated because of flooding.

River Seine exceeded its normal water level by more than 13 feet over the weekend after weeks of heavy rainfall.

The rail operator SNCF also closed the RER C commuter line that runs along the river and is used by tourists to reach the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral and Versailles.

The capital's bateaux mouches rivercraft was out of service, and only emergency services were authorised to navigate the Seine.

That would be below the 20 feet reached in exceptional floods in 2016, and well below the 28 feet hit in record floods in 1910.

"Everyone is getting around by boat", resident Serge Matikhine said.

At the Pont d'Austerlitz, the Seine is about 26m deep, according to the Paris mayor's office.