Paris braces for peak flooding as Seine River rises

A man holds his shoes in his hands as he walks through the Seine after it burst its banks in Paris

Riverside homes and businesses in Paris are on high alert as the swollen River Seine threatens to overflow its banks.

Roads on the river banks have also been closed to traffic, and seven train stations alongside the river have been shut down.

"Because of climate change, we can expect floods in the Seine basin to be at least as frequent as they are right now", said Florence Habets, a senior researcher at the CNRS, France's national centre for scientific research.

"Flooding is a natural phenomenon; it becomes a catastrophe because we humans have put ourselves and our infrastructures in the wrong place", Sebastien Maire, Paris's chief resilience officer told the Guardian after the 2016 floods. Many media sources are now looking back to June 2016, when water levels in Paris reached more than 20 feet (six meters).

While the Seine's water levels are now well above average, they're still a far cry from the Great Flood of 1910, during which the water level rose eight metres above the ordinary level. It was expected to keep rising, reaching a peak above 6 metres over the weekend.

Tunnels, roads and the bottom floor of the Louvre have been closed as the French capital prepares itself for more flooding.

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On a cold Friday morning, a small group of bystanders gathered at the Pont de l'Alma to admire and take pictures of the Seine's muddy waters. In 1910, during "The Great Flood of Paris", the Seine water level rose to 28 feet.

Although some experts said it was hard to determine whether global warming was behind the current flood, others warned that a worrying pattern was emerging. Just in front of the bridge close to the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed in a vehicle crash stands the Zouave.

PARIS-Must France simply get used to flooding?

Joao De Macedo said residents of the building he manages all left three days ago.

Anthony Huard, who organizes floating parties on a boat moored in the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, said much of his activity has been halted.

Part of the Louvre, which sits next to the river, is closed due to flooding, and officials say that lower gallery likely won't open until Monday at the earliest.

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