After Paris flooding, Seine river starts receding
Authorities say it could take up to 10 days for water levels to return to normal
French authorities say the water level of the Seine river in Paris started to decrease Saturday after reaching its peak overnight, the highest in nearly 35 years.
- PHOTOS: Deadly flooding inundates parts of France, Germany and Belgium
- PHOTOS: The flooded streets of Paris
But authorities warned it could take up to 10 days for the river to come back to its normal levels after the flooding that swelled the river to about 4.5 metres (15 feet) above average levels in Paris.
Nearly a week of heavy rain has led to serious flooding across parts of France, Germany, Romania and Belgium.
The death toll from flooding in France rose to four, with 24 others injured, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday after a government crisis meeting, bringing the flooding death toll across Europe to 18.
Authorities have shut the Louvre museum, the national library, the Orsay museum and the Grand Palais, Paris' striking glass-and-steel topped exhibition centre.
The Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, said it won't reopen until Wednesday. Curators were scrambling to move some 250,000 artworks from basement storage areas at risk of flooding to safer areas upstairs.
Other French towns hit
The Orsay Museum, known for its impressionist art, closed through the weekend.
The rain-swollen Seine reached its highest level in three decades, spilling its banks on Friday.
Even as the peak water level passed, transportation problems remained throughout the French capital. Several train and subway stations were shut down in the city centre and flooded roads abounded.
France's meteorological service said Saturday that high flood alerts remained in effect in 14 regions, mostly in central France, including Paris.
Southern Germany hit hard
In Germany, where 11 have died from flooding, the worst-hit area has been the south along the Austrian border. In the photo above, firefighters survey cars drifting in the southern German town of Simbach on Thursday.
Although the rain has tapered off in some areas, possible floods were expected over the weekend downstream along the Seine river, in the region of Normandy in western France.