The Louvre is Closing as Flood Waters Threaten Paris - Atlas Obscura
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The Louvre is Closing as Flood Waters Threaten Paris

It’s not looking good.

The Seine, which flows through the heart of Paris and connects the city with the English Channel, is flooding. Its waters have risen over 15 feet above normal levels, thanks to heavy rains across France that also led to a rare disruption of play at the French Open. 

For the Louvre, though, there’s a bigger threat: to tens of thousands of pieces of priceless art, much of which the museum stores underground. 

On Thursday, the museum said that it was taking emergency measures, with a complete closure slated for Friday and the removal of art to higher ground, according to the BBC. Across the river, the Musee d’Orsay said it would also be closing while taking similar steps. 

The Seine has flooded several times before, but this year’s deluge has been worse than usual, with some comparing it to the disastrous 1910 flood that destroyed a swath of the city. 

This year’s water levels are lower than they were in 1910, but more rain is in the forecast for this weekend. By then, the Louvre should be ready; the museum had been practicing flood preparations earlier this year, giving themselves 72 hours to get vulnerable art to safety. 

Steady rains and flooding across Europe have been blamed for at least nine deaths, many of them in Germany, in addition to an 86-year-old woman who was found deceased at her home in central France, according to the Guardian.

This article has been updated.