Days of intense rainfall in France have caused the river Seine to rise to levels unseen in 35 years and floods which have killed at least three. Authorities have shut the Louvre amid as 250,000 artworks are threatened by the waters.

The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that as many as 20,000 individuals have been evacuated from their homes across France in response to the floods and the situation required "a lot of vigilance and care," the Associated Press reported.

The country's environment ministry has said the Seine will reach its highest level "from the end of the day Friday," as rainfall lessens.

Tourists in the French capital felt the effects of the inclement weather as the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay were shut to visitors. An operation was undertaken to remove Louvre's reserve of artworks and artefacts.

Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez said the museum's artwork was in no immediate danger. AP reported the museum needed about 72 hours of lead time to begin evacuating its reserve, which he said comprises about 250,000 pieces of art. Asked when the Louvre would reopen, he said: "We can't say yet."

The situation is being reviewed nearly hour-by-hour, French Culture Minister Audrey Azouley said. Paris' National Library is also closed.

Le Monde reported that three had been killed in the torrents. On Sunday, the newspaper reported a three-year-old was killed in his family home after their basement flooded in Yonne, a region south east of Paris.

In Yerres in Evry-Grégy- on-Yerre, a 74-year-old man was found two hours after being swept from his horse. On Wednesday, the body of an 86-year-old woman was found in a flooded pavilion in Seine-et-Marne.

French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay
French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay (L) speaks to the media as Louvre Museum head Jean-Luc Martinez (Top L) listens as the musuem is closed to the public due to the rising Seine River in Paris, France, following days of almost non-stop rain caused flooding in the country, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/John SchultsREUTERS/John Schults