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Paris shuts Louvre museum to evacuate artworks as flood waters rise

Published 02/06/2016

A picture taken on June 2, 2016 shows the river Seine bursting its banks next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on June 2, 2016 shows the river Seine bursting its banks next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. AFP/Getty Images

Paris's Louvre museum has been closed so that its priceless artworks can be moved to safety amid the threat of flooding from the nearby River Seine.

Entries were halted on Thursday afternoon and, according to an internal memo sent to staff, the museum is expected to stay shut on Friday.

The French government has issued an orange flooding alert for central Paris after days of rain, with the Seine's water level passing about 5m.

"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 sent to staff said, according to Reuters.

François Duquesne, head of Vigicrues, the agency which monitors water levels in France, said: “The Seine is still rising but we are far from the 8.5 metres recorded in 1910 (when large areas of the capital were flooded for 45 days). We should see a rise to a peak of around 5.6 metres overnight.”

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Paris flooding: Fears grow ahead of Euro 2016 with River Seine set to rise further  

One department just east of Paris, Seine et Marne, is on “red alert”, the highest level. Several other departments within the Seine catchment area are at the “orange” or second highest alert level.

Other experts warned that the weather and flood levels remained unpredictable, a week before the Euro 2016 national football tournament begins in Paris next Friday. A giant “fan zone”, capable of hoisting up to 100,000 people has been built on the Champ de Mars, beside the Eiffel Tower and close to the river.

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A man stands in the flooded street in underwear as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016.AFP/Getty Images
A man stands in the flooded street in underwear as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016.AFP/Getty Images
People stand next to flooded railway tracks on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. AFP/Getty Images
A fence bearing a sign reading ' closed street, flood' is pictured in a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages.KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
City employees walk in a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
People chat in a flooded street in Nemours on June 1, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
People walk next to a pneumatic in a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
People paddle in a boat in a flooded street in Nemours on June 1, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Picture taken on June 1, 2016 in Saint-Denis-en-Val, central France, shows a flooded street after heavy rains. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
The flooded Vert Galant park is pictured from the Pont Neuf bridge after the banks of the river Seine became flooded following heavy rainfalls on June 1, 2016 in Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOTFRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
The flooded expressway by the river Seine is pictured near the Pont Neuf bridge (Rear) after its banks became flooded following heavy rainfalls on June 1, 2016 in Paris. AFP/Getty Images
A man walks in a flooded street on June 1, 2016, in Saint-Denis-en-Val, central France, after heavy rains. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
Submerged cars are pictured in a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images
People access a tourist crusing barge on Quai de Conti using a small boat, after the banks of the river Seine became flooded following heavy rainfalls on June 1, 2016 in Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOTFRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
People paddle in a craft in a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages.KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Women cross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A man pulls a small boat transporting inhabitants in a flooded street of Nemours, on June 1, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A rescuer is lifted down from a helicopter of the Securite Civile, France's civil defence agency, to reach stranded residents following floods on June 1, 2016 in Nemours, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP/Getty Images
A man pulls a dinghy as he evacuates residents accross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers evacuate residents onto a dinghy accross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A rescuer evacuates a boy accross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Chickens wait to be evacuated onto a dinghy accross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A rescuer is lifted back into a helicopter of the Securite Civile, France's civil defence agency, after assisting stranded residents following floods on June 1, 2016 in Nemours, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers evacuate residents onto a dinghy through a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
This handout picture released by the Domaine national de Chambord shows flooded gardens at the Chateau de Chambord (the Castle of Chambord) on June 1, 2016 in Chambord as torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany. In Paris, the river Seine burst over walkways, while in northern and central France, homes and cars were wrecked as flooding left several towns and villages under a metre or more of water. More than 80 roads across France had to be closed. / AFP PHOTO / Domaine national de Chambord / A. Leboutey / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / DOMAINE NATIONAL DE CHAMBORD / A. LEBOUTEY" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS A. LEBOUTEY/AFP/Getty Images
This handout picture released by the Domaine national de Chambord shows a flooded area in front of the Chateau de Chambord (the Castle of Chambord) on June 1, 2016 in Chambord as torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany. AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters help a woman to disembark a boat as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters rescue inhabitants on their boat as they search for people as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters stand by their boat as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
Residents with the help of rescueworkers cross a flooded street in Nemours, southeast of Paris, on June 1, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images
People stand next to flooded railway tracks on June 1, 2016 in Souppes-sur-Loing, southeast of Paris. Getty Images
This picture taken on June 1, 2016 shows a flooded street due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
A man stands in the flooded street as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
This picture taken on June 1, 2016 shows a flooded street due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters set up their vehicule as the city is flooded due to heavy rainfalls at Montargis, central France, on June 01, 2016. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANTGUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A resident walks accross a flooded street on June 1, 2016 in Nemours, southeast of Paris. Torrential downpours have lashed parts of northern Europe in recent days, leaving four dead in Germany, breaching the banks of the Seine in Paris and flooding rural roads and villages. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

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