Paris braced for floods after heavy rain causes Seine River to burst banks

Water rises to at least 3.3 metres above the normal level

Ryan Butcher@ryanjohnbutcher
Tuesday 23 January 2018 18:15
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A photo taken on 23 January shows flooded banks of the river Seine, which has overflown after torrential rain has battered Paris
A photo taken on 23 January shows flooded banks of the river Seine, which has overflown after torrential rain has battered Paris

Parisians have been urged to use "extreme caution" after the River Seine burst its banks and water levels rose at least 3.3 metres above the normal level.

Authorities closed several roads near the French's capital's City Hall and cancelled boat cruises as forecasters warned that the water is expected to keep rising in the coming days.

Expected to reach its peak later this week, fears are mounting that it could surpass the water level recorded in 2016, when the worst flooding seen in Paris for decades led to the closure of several monuments and tourist attractions including the Louvre.

Railway company SNCF said that six train stations running alongside the Seine will close for several days.

Tourists express disappointment at some of the closures, but were on the whole understanding about the closures.

"We are disappointed because we thought we were going on a cruise on the Seine," said Costanza Della Cananea, an Italian tourist visiting Paris.

"It was the first time we were going to do it."

Marina Franchi, a visitor from the southern French city of Marseille, regretted not being able to make a dinner cruise.

"It is a part of our heritage. It would have been nice to visit Paris by night on the Seine," she said.

Other parts of France were also bracing themselves for flooding, with rivers including the Rhine in the east also threatening to overflow.

Thirty departments across the country have been placed on flood alert, with some towns and villages already reporting homes and shops being filled with muddy water.

An emergency containment zone has already been opened in Strasbourg to stop the Rhine overflowing after days of snow and heavy downpours.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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