It's Raining So Much in Paris the Louvre Is Closed

Rising waters in France, Germany, and Belgium have already led to at least 6 deaths
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2016 1:21 PM CDT
Louvre Shutters to Save Art in Paris Flood Fear
Tourists walk around the Louvre Pyramid in Paris on May 24, 2016.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay closed their doors to the public Thursday as the Seine crept up past its normal water levels, prompting fears of flooding and peril to famous works in both Paris art institutions, the Independent reports. Local cops say that flood warnings for areas along the river's banks have moved on to "orange" alert, the second-highest in the color-coded system, designating the rising water as having the potential to make a "significant impact" on buildings and people, per the AP. The Louvre, which the Local says had earlier pooh-poohed the possibility of flooding, has decided to stay closed all day Friday so workers can lug precious artwork from lower levels to higher ones, though the museum's signature piece, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, is on a high-enough floor to sit tight as-is.

Heavy rains have led to floods all over France this week, as well as in Germany and Belgium, leading to stranded drivers, mass evacuations, and the deaths of at least half a dozen people so far. The last "catastrophic" flood in Paris, per the Independent, was in 1910, when the Seine rose to nearly 28 feet, flooding parts of the city for more than a month; the head of the agency that measures the river's levels says he expects the river levels to peak at closer to 20 feet overnight. Luckily, both museums have been prepping for a moment like this for some time, holding flood drills that test response time—the Louvre's staff managed to clear out its entire subterranean Islamic art section in just a day earlier this year during one such dry run. CNN notes that rain is expected to continue over the weekend. (Will these downpours bring out more Louvre rats?)

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