Paris remains on high alert as Seine continues to rise

A man fishes on the flooded banks of the River Seine in Paris

A man fishes on the flooded banks of the River Seine in Paris

The Seine in Paris appears to have reached a plateau, authorities have said - but 12 departments remain on orange alert for river flooding.

Around 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes in the greater Paris region, while a similar number of homes remain without electricity. But in smaller towns along the river, our correspondent adds, shoppers and commuters have been punting boats along flooded streets.

The Seine river which runs through Paris reached the peak level of 5.84 meters overnight, below 2016 flooding record.

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.

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Meanwhile the iconic statue of an Algerian French soldier named Zouave, which has guarded the river at the Pont d'Alma bridge since 1910, was drenched up to the thighs.

Upstream of Paris, water levels in the Marne - the river that joins the Seine as it enters the city - continued to creep higher on Saturday, Paris police said.

The Louvre museum was forced to close off its Islamic artwork level to visitors, and the Musée d'Orsay and the Orangerie galleries were put on high alert.

Flooding has disrupted some metro and train services in the city, and some walkways and roads near the river are closed.

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Tourists also suffered, with the capital's famous Bateaux Mouches rivercraft out of service, and only emergency services authorised to navigate the waterway.

More favorable weather is expected for the week ahead, but even once the water levels start to recede forecasters and officials say it will be a slow process, as much of the ground in northern France is already waterlogged.

But areas on the city outskirts have been hardest hit by the overflow, with houses underwater in the southern suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges.

Water levels at the Austerlitz Bridge had reached almost 19 feet, according to the the official Vigicrues flood agency website.

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In Paris the Seine flows through a deep channel, limiting the potential flooding damage to riverside structures.

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