Rain-swollen Seine burst its banks, engulfs quays

Floodwaters are nearing their peak in Paris, with the rain-swollen Seine River engulfing scenic quays and threatening wine cellars and museum basements.

Unusually heavy rains have engorged the Seine and other rivers in the region, forcing a halt to all boat traffic in Paris, including tourist cruises.

France Flooding

People use a dinghy to reach a barge on the Seine on Saturday. (Thibault Camus/Associated Press)

Some quay-side restaurants were submerged, and roads and parks were closed — along with the bottom floor of the Louvre museum.

Groundwater was also seeping into some Paris cellars, and authorities warned residents of some neighbourhoods to remove any valuables.


Paris police navigate near houseboats on the Seine River amid worries over the rising river. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

However, authorities said Saturday that the flooding won’t be as bad as forecast earlier this week. The river is expected to peak in Paris on Sunday at six metres or less on the Austerlitz scale, well below the 8.6 metres hit in record floods in 1910. In normal times, the river measures about 1.5 metres on the Austerlitz scale.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated along the Seine as floods caused significant damage in Paris suburbs in recent days, but no deaths or injuries have been reported.


A man paints the swollen Seine river and its banks in Paris on Friday. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

Parisians seemed to be taking the high water and closures in stride.

Tourists took photos of water-covered embankments Saturday, as workers inspected water infiltrations on a road.

Meanwhile, fishermen — and a visiting flock of cormorants — took advantage of the rushing, boat-free river to look for lunch.


A man used a rope earlier this week to transfer a bag of supplies to his friend who lives on a houseboat as the banks of the Seine. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

“The flood of the Seine river can be interesting from a fishing perspective, because many fish approach more easily the river banks and the surface,” said amateur fisherman Maxime Potier, as he cast his line from the Arsenal Port in eastern Paris.

“I understand that people might fear the floods because of the strength of the current but here we are in a port, no current, so there is no fear.”

Paris flood

Rising waters weren’t only an issue on the river. This photo taken Friday shows a train blocked in the Javel railway station, flooded due to the high level of the river. (lUdovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

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