Heavy Flooding Hits Paris, France as River Seine Rises to 19 Feet

Weeks of heavy rains have swollen the Seine and its tributaries, forcing road closures, engulfing scenic embankments and halting river boat cruises through the French capital.

That's lower than the last serious flooding in June 2016 when water levels reached 6.1 meters (about 20 feet) and riverside museums were forced to move artwork from their basements.

Almost 1,500 people were evacuated from their homes in Paris due to the floods, while seven stations of a main commuter train line, the RER C, have been closed until February 5.

"It's been a gradual rise, so you can't really call it a "peak" - we prefer to say it has plateaued", said Rachel Puechberty, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Police fined people who took a canoe Saturday into the Seine in central Paris, and sternly ordered others in a tweet against such actions, calling them "totally irresponsible". However, because the rain stopped on Friday, it's possible that the water levels will hover around 17 feet, the French meteorological service Meteo France said, CNN reports.

Emergency personnel patrol the flooded Seine River on January 26, 2018 in Paris.

The river banks near the Eiffel Tower.

Some expressways that run alongside the Seine have also been closed.

However, fears of flooding like that seen in 1910, which saw the Seine rise to 8.62m and shut down much of Paris's basic infrastructure, appeared to be unfounded.

"Two floodings of the Seine river in less than two years - we have to change, we have to change the way we build this city", Brossel said. In certain Parisian suburbs, however, people used small boats to escape their homes.

Elsewhere in France, 11 departments were still on flood alert as of Monday.

Meanwhile, the Seine-Maritime was added early on Monday, with floodwaters from Paris heading downstream, coupled with strong incoming tides forecast over the next few days blocking the flow of water into the sea.

Another resident, Serge Matikhin, said "everyone is getting around by boat".

  • Rogelio Becker