Floodwaters have reached a peak in Paris and are threatening towns downstream along the rain-engorged Seine River.

The Seine and tributaries are swollen due to weeks of heavy rains, forcing road closures, engulfing scenic embankments and halting river boat cruises through the French capital.

France Flooding

A photographer takes a picture of a model along the flooded banks of the Seine River in Paris on Saturday. (Thibault Camus/Associated Press)

The national flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels hit a maximum height of 5.84 metres on the Austerlitz scale early Monday.

That’s below initial fears last week and well below record levels of 8.62 metres in 1910, but still several metres above normal levels of about 1.5 metres on the Austerlitz scale.

The waters are expected to stay unusually high for days or weeks.

APTOPIX France Flooding

A flooded street lamp and signboards are pictured next to the Seine River on Saturday. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

That’s bad news for tourists hoping to cruise past Paris sites on the famed “bateaux mouches” riverboats, or visit the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum, closed since last week as a precaution. Riverside train stations along the line that serves Versailles are also closed, and will remain that way for several more days.

Water laps the underside of historic bridges, and treetops and lampposts poke out of the brown, swirling Seine.


A parking desk is partly submerged in the Seine after days of almost non-stop rain caused flooding in the country. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)

But Paris is better prepared than when it was last hit by heavy flooding in 2016, and people in Paris have largely taken disruptions in stride this time.

Other towns on the surging Seine have seen it much worse.

The floods have caused damage in 242 towns along the river and tributaries, and are now threatening more towns as the Seine heads downstream west of Paris toward Normandy and the English Channel.


A local resident wearing waterproof pants carries boxed wine down a flooded street on the Seine in Villennes-sur-Seine, west of Paris, on Monday. (Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images)