Louvre is evacuated as Seine bursts its banks
The Louvre began evacuating artworks from its underground vaults yesterday for the first time since the Second World War as the River Seine began to burst its banks amid severe floods in France and Germany.
At least five people were killed in the flooding that has been described as the worst some areas have seen in a century.
Towns have been evacuated, while rescue teams raced to reach thousands stranded by the rising waters.
In Paris, riverside walkways were submerged and emergency flood barriers erected along the banks of the swollen Seine.
Authorities shut down one of the city's underground rail lines, while the Louvre closed its doors and called for volunteers to help move its treasures to upper floors. The Musée d'Orsay, across the Seine from the Louvre, quickly followed suit.
France and other European countries have been pummelled for days by an exceptional deluge, and there is little respite in sight with more heavy rain forecast for the coming days.
In the German state of Bavaria, the bodies of five people have been found and another four are missing.
The dead included a grandmother, mother and daughter from one family, who were found in a flooded house.
The body of a man was found in another house, while an 80-year-old woman died in a neighbouring village.
The Seine's waters have risen to 14ft and are expected to reach 18ft by the weekend. (© Daily Telegraph, London)