Both the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay closed early Thursday in a drastic measure to allow staff to protect artworks from the rising waters of the River Seine. Days of downpours have caused the waters to overflow its banks and floods threaten the museums.
Both museums indicate on their websites that they will remain closed on Friday to move works currently in flood zones to higher floors; on social media,
#CrueSeine has been trending.
The Louvre's website states:
"Due to the level of the river Seine, the Musée du Louvre will be exceptionally closed to the public on June 3, 2016 to ensure the protection of the works located in flood zones. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. "
The Orsay warns potential visitors:
"Due to the launch of the Protection Plan against Floodings, we inform you the late opening is canceled and the museum will close at 6pm.
Please note: As part of the Protection Plan against Floodings, we inform you that the Musée d'Orsay will be closed on Friday, 3 June."
Museums and galleries the world over have been forced to deal with the prospect of flooding in an era of climate change.
Many galleries in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York were devastated by flooding during Superstorm Sandy, in 2012. A year later, Miami's Perez Art Museum opened its new building on a "hurricane-resistant platform." When the Whitney Museum of American Art launched its new building near the Hudson River in downtown Manhattan, flood protections included a temporary barrier system as well as watertight doors on loading docks, as the New York Times reported during construction.
Fully a quarter of American museums and related organizations are within about 60 miles of the ocean in areas vulnerable to future sea level rise, according to research by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
On the France-Belgium border, six weeks' worth of rain fell in 24 hours, according to the Independent, which adds that thousands have put in calls to emergency services throughout France. President François Hollande said he would declare a natural disaster in the hardest-hit parts of the nation, CNN reports.
The waters of the Seine are forecast to continue to rise, according to CNN.
Neither museum's press office immediately responded to a request for comment.