The world's most visited museum, the Louvre in Paris, will close on Friday (3 June) in order for it to move priceless artworks from display, as France declares a state of emergency due to torrential floods that are causing damage in Europe. The Louvre, plus the Musée d'Orsay on the opposite bank of the Seine, will close so staff can move the art pieces to more secure areas of the buildings.
Heavy flooding has caused the deaths of at least 10 people across Europe, as rivers burst their banks in cities such as the French capital and Bavaria, Germany. The Seine - which runs through the centre of Paris and next to the Louvre - has risen by five metres above normal levels, with more rainfall expected over the weekend.
The Musée d'Orsay shut their doors early on Thursday (2 June) as a precautionary measure after the river burst its banks in areas nearby. Emergency barriers have been put up along the river with as much as 50mm (2in) of rain fall expected overnight.
Announcing the closure, the Louvre said: "The aim is to move works situated in areas vulnerable to flooding to safety by moving them to higher floors."
Across Paris and the Central France area, more than 25,000 people are without power, while national rail operators, SNCF, closed one of their lines which runs adjacent to the Seine. Elsewhere in France, roughly six weeks worth of rainfall was recorded in Loiret, eventually forcing motorists to abandon their cars.
In Souppes-sur-Loing, the body of an 86-year-old woman was discovered in her home. French President, Francois Hollande, declared a state of natural disaster in some areas, allowing for emergency funds to be made available.
In neighbouring Germany at least nine deaths have been recorded in the floods with several people still missing. In Simbach am Inn, Bavaria, a 78-year-old woman, plus her daughter, 56, and her granddaughter, 28, were found drowned in the basement of their house.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told the nation: "We are mourning those for whom help has come too late and who lost their lives in the floods".