Floodwaters in Seine river peak in Paris

Floodwaters in Seine river peak in Paris

Elsewhere, Vigicrues says the Saône flood peak has been reached at Chalon-sur-Saône, and water levels are now slowly falling, but water levels along the downstream Seine are expected to continue rising until midweek.

The river reached 5.7 metres at 9:00 am (local time) today, more than four metres above its normal height, causing headaches for commuters as well as people living near its overflowing banks.

The Vigicrues flooding watchdog said the river would stay at its current level throughout the day before beginning to recede tomorrow.

All boat traffic on the Seine in Paris and upstream has been stopped, keeping tourists off the capital's famed sightseeing boats.

About 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes in the Paris region because of the flooding and a similar number are without electricity.

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But the world's most visited museum was still on alert yesterday, along with the Musee d'Orsay and Orangerie galleries, with the lower level of the Louvre's Islamic arts wing closed to visitors at least until today.

A statue of a French soldier from the Crimean War - known as The Zouave - on the Pont de l'Alma has also always been used as a marker for water levels in the city.

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

Meteo France, the national weather service, said December and January have been the third wettest on record since 1900.

Flooding also caused disruption to some of the train services in the city and walkways and roads near the river are closed.

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Several areas on the city's outskirts are under water, and some residents are getting around by boat while dozens have been evacuated from their homes.

At the Pont d'Austerlitz, the Seine is about 26m deep, according to the Paris mayor's office.

Water levels in the rain-swollen Seine are nowhere near those reached in 1910 when waters rose to around 8.5 meters (about 28 feet) forcing residents to evacuate.

However, authorities said Saturday that the flooding won't be as bad as forecast earlier this week.

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