A Paris metro line has already been closed as the French city continues to struggle with water levels – six people have died across Europe due to the floods
The Louvre museum in Paris has been closed to the public today as France declared a state of emergency due to deadly flooding.
Six people have died across Europe due after heavy rainfall vaused rivers to burst their banks from the French capital to the southern German state of Bavaria.
Dramatic aerial footage shows the extend of the flood damage as thousands of people have been trapped in homes and cars.
An 86-year old woman was found dead in her flooded house in a small town southwest of Paris late on Wednesday, apparently the first casualty from the heavy rains that caused the Loire and Seine rivers to burst their banks.
The other five people have died elsewhere in Europe in the last week.
President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency in the worst affected areas of France and promised money to help local authorities deal with the flood damage.
“Since yesterday it’s just been a deluge,” said Jerome Coiffier, an inhabitant of Longjumeau, less than 20 km south of Paris, where firemen wading thigh-deep in water rescued inhabitants using inflatable boats.
— ClareByrne (@clarebyrneparis) June 2, 2016
Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Nemours, 75 km south of Paris, where at least 3,000 out of 13,000 inhabitants had to leave their homes, as flood water crept towards the second story of buildings in the town centre.
He called the situation “tense”.
After days of torrential rains, the French government has issued an orange alert for central Paris, with the Seine’s water level bursting through 5 meters.
Its record high was 8.60 meters during the devastating floods of 1910.
The Louvre is also expected to be shut tomorrow so that priceless artworks can be removed if the swollen River Seine keeps rising higher, an internal email to staff showed.
“The museum will remain closed to the public tomorrow out of precaution: there is no danger to the public or our staff but will allow us to calmly remove certain art collections should it be necessary,” the email seen by Reuters stated.
The SNCF rail operator to close an underground commuter line that runs along the river and is used by tourists to reach the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The Musee d’Orsay said it would close earlier than planned.
In the Loire valley, the Chambord castle, a Unesco heritage site, found itself surrounded by water.
The national weather service said the greater Paris region had in May endured its wettest month since 1960.