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Grand Palais reopens, Louvre still closed after Paris flooding

The riverside Grand Palais exhibition hall in Paris reopened Sunday as floodwaters slowly receded from the French capital in the wake of the worst flooding in three decades, which caused the Seine River to crest its banks.

Flooding also keeps France's Orsay museum shuttered, as music festival in Germany forced to send fans home

With the Louvre museum in the background, firemen patrol the flooded Seine River in Paris. (Jerome Delay/The Associated Press)

The riverside Grand Palais exhibition hall in Paris reopened Sunday as floodwaters slowly receded from the French capital in the wake of the worst flooding in three decades, which caused the Seine River to crest its banks.

Other regions around Paris remained at risk, notably parts of Normandy, as digging out began in nearby villages and towns.

The Louvre Museum, several Paris train stations and roads remained closed. Quayside restaurants along the Seine were still engulfed in water Sunday and tour boats were unable to pass under bridges, a blow to the riverside economy.
A sailing ship, La Boudeuse, is moored on the Seine in Paris on Sunday. Floodwaters slowly receded from the French capital, though risks remain for other regions. (Thibault Camus/The Associated Press)

The Louvre — the world's largest museum — said it won't reopen until Wednesday. Curators were scrambling earlier in the week to move some 250,000 artworks from basement storage areas at risk of flooding to safer areas upstairs.

The glass-topped Grand Palais, built for the 1900 World's Fair and currently hosting an exhibit by avant-garde Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, among several others, opened again Sunday after closing Friday.

The Orsay Museum, known for its impressionist art, was also closed through the weekend.

Water rushes past the Alma bridge and the Zouave statue during Paris's flooding. (Francois Mori/The Associated Press)
Elsewhere, emergency crews were pumping water out of a key Paris highway interchange. South of the capital, 300 cars and big rigs trapped for four days on a highway were being removed and returned to their owners who had been forced to abandon them. The complex, day-long operation "is going quite well," Gendarmerie Captain Laurent Terrien told BFM-TV.

After a week of exceptionally heavy rains around Europe, at least 18 people died in flooding in Germany, France, Romania and Belgium.

New thunderstorms were forecast for eastern France on Sunday, and in Normandy, the Seine was expected to peak later in the day. More than 11,000 French homes are still without electricity.

In Paris, the Seine peaked Saturday and the national flood service said it would remain about 4 meters (more than 13 feet) above normal Sunday. Authorities warn it will take up to 10 days for the river to return to normal.
Visitors leave the open-air music festival Rock am Ring near Mendig, Germany on Sunday after the event was closed following storms. (Thomas Frey/The Associated Press)

German authorities pulled the plug on the Rock am Ring music festival, west of Frankfurt, Sunday after a new storm warning was issued, sending tens of thousands of festival-goers home. Late Friday, a lightning storm sent 70 people from the event to the hospital.

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