Flooding in central Paris has swollen the Seine river by 6 metres (20 feet) with a peak of up to 6.50 metres expected later, the French environment ministry said on Friday.
“The high-water level in Paris is expected tonight at around 6.30 metres (above its normal level), perhaps 6.50 metres in a worst-case scenario,” the ministry said in a statement.
“It should be noted that this is more of a plateau than a peak, since this level will remain relatively stable for the whole weekend before receding.”
The peak is expected to beat the levels reached during floods in 1982, when the river rose 6.15 metres above its normal level.
The record remains the 8.68 metres reached during devastating floods in 1910.
The ministry also said it was possible that some residents in areas near the Seine in western Paris could be evacuated if necessary.
Those evacuations could take place at the campsite in Bois de Boulogne, as well as on the Ile de la Jatte, Ile Saint-Germain, as well as in the suburb of Rueil-Malmaison, the ministry explained.
Businesses along the banks of the River Seine are growing increasingly worried as the water rise.
The Local's Oliver Gee who is down on the banks of the River Seine said: “Water levels have very distinctively risen since Wednesday and Thursday.
“Loads of tourists and Parisians alike crowded along bridges watching the river pass quickly beneath.
“There has been large floating debris including plastic wheely bins and large logs. The roads that run alongside the river are closed off and traffic light pole are almost submerged.”
Transport in the city has also been hit by the floods. On Friday afternoon SNCF announced that the whole of the RER line C would be closed from Friday evening at 8pm, but then appeared to back track.
The announcement came after part of the line was closed on Friday that runs along the River Seine between Austerlitz and Javel, which will remain shut.
Authorities have also had to close Cluny-La Sorbonne Metro station on Line 10 as well as St Michel.
With the banks of the Seine closed to traffic, driving in the rest of the city has become difficult with the capital more clogged up than normal.
The capital's normally booming tourism industry has been badly hit.
The rising waters have forced the Louvre to close while staff evacuate artworks from their underground store rooms. THe picture below showed artworks stored throughout the gallery.
French Culture Minister Audrey Azouley told journalists she and others were evaluating the situation “nearly hour-by-hour as we don't know yet the evolution of the level of the Seine River.”
Across the river the Musée d'Orsay has also closed for the same reason and announced on Friday that it will remain shut until at least Tuesday. On Friday afternoon the Grand Palais also announced it was closing to the public out of precaution.
But the main attraction in Paris was now the river itself.