Floods in Paris are only going to get worse, forecasters have predicted.
Roads and Metro stations close to the river have already been closed and museums near the banks of the Seine have taken emergency measures after record rainfall.
However, the flooding is only getting worse and is yet to peak.
Currently authorities predict that it will reach over 20ft on Saturday – 16ft above its normal height.
The country has been hit by the third wettest on record since data began in 1900, according to Meteo France.
Many regions have seen double the rainfall than normal, including Paris, where 183 millimetres (7.2 inches) have been dumped since December 1. More rain was forecast for today.
National rail operator SNCF extended service halts within Paris on the busy RER C suburban line through to next Wednesday, and all boat traffic on the Seine in Paris and upstream has been stopped, keeping tourists off the capital’s famed sightseeing boats.
The Louvre has started removing works from the basement level of its Islamic arts wing, and the Musee d’Orsay and Orangerie were also on flood alert.
The rising waters have also brought Paris’s rat problem to the surface, as the rodents are flushed out of the sewers in many parts of the city.
‘That doesn’t mean there are more of them, only that we see them more often,’ said Pierre Falgayrac, an expert in urban rodents, who says the capital is now home to 1.75 rats for every Parisian.
Rivers were also spilling their banks across 15 northern and eastern French departments still on flood alert, though the Rhine, which was completely closed to traffic Tuesday, has been reopened south of Strasbourg.
The Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and flows into the North Sea via Germany and the Netherlands, began receding from the peak reached Tuesday after officials emptied some seven million cubic metres (247 million cubic feet) into a flood containment zone.
In the central Yonne department about 30 roads had been closed due to flooding which the prefecture warned was likely to worsen in coming days.
Higher rivers are relatively common in winter, ‘but the extent makes this an exceptional event,’ said Marc Mortureux, risk prevention director at the French environment ministry.