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Louvre officials 'highly vigilant' as Paris floods again

The Louvre Museum, which has recently faced closures over pension strikes and the outbreak of the new coronavirus, is being confronted with potential floods as the Seine River rises and rain continues in Paris.

Rising Seine is latest struggle for French museum following pension strikes, coronavirus-related closure

People walk past a flooded area near the Louvre museum's main entrance in Paris. Officials at the Louvre, which sits on the right bank of the Seine, are monitoring the river's rising levels after massive rainfall. (Rafael Yaghobzadeh/The Associated Press)

The water level in the Seine River is rising after massive rainfall, adding to concerns that it could break its bank in Paris.

The situation is adding to problems for the Louvre museum, which has recently faced closures over pension strikes and the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The world's most visited museum said Monday that officials were being "highly vigilant" as they monitor the river's level. Housed in a former royal residence on the right bank of the Seine River, the Louvre is the city landmark that would be most vulnerable if the river spilled its banks.

The river rose to a high of 3.5 metres in recent days, leaving trees and benches underwater and forcing the city to close riverside parks, officials said.

Over the weekend, Paris authorities closed a tunnel at the Tuileries' gardens, which is adjacent to the Louvre, over fears of flooding, but called for the public to not be alarmed.

People walk on a plank bridge to cross the flooded Seine River on Monday, with water levels expected to hit 4.3 metres after days of rain. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

The Louvre said that the river hasn't yet risen to the "critical threshold" in the section near the museum, but it was limiting the number of visitors as a precaution.

Flooding in recent years

For Parisians, the Zouave soldier statue on the Pont de l'Alma bridge is the best-known measure for the height of the Seine. During floods in January 2018, the river rose as high as 5.84 metres — to the Zouave statue's belt.

In June 2016, when the Seine rose to 6.1 metres, the museum had to remove some of its artifacts from its cellars, as a precaution in case they were flooded. Thousands of homes upstream and downstream of the city, on the Seine and its main tributary the Marne, were flooded that year.

In January 1910, the Seine's waters rose as high as 8.62 metres, causing catastrophic floods that affected large parts of central Paris.

With files from Reuters

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