The Grand Palais has reopened, as Paris begins its clean-up operation following severe flooding in the French capital.
The city suffered its worst floods in three decades last week, causing the Seine River to burst its banks. The river rose to 20 feet on Friday 3rd June, its highest level since 1982.
In response, national gallery the Louvre initiated a flood protection plan and moved over 100,000 artworks to higer floors to protect them from possible water damage. No water entered the building, the museum confirmed today, although a small amount did enter the nearby Musee d’Orsay on the Left Bank of the Seine. The gallery moved 7,000 artworks to upper floors to protect them.
The damage from the floods, which caused thousands to be evacuated from their homes along the Seine and Loire rivers, is estimated to cost up to a billion euros.
President François Hollande told the press on Sunday that the government would formally declare a “natural catastrophe” on Wednesday to facilitate payout by the insurance industry.
“There is also an agricultural calamity,” Hollande added. “Many farmers have lost either their livestock or their vines.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also announced emergency help for those who had “lost everything” in the floods.
Authorities have said it could take up to 10 days for the river to return to its normal level. But yesterday, the Grand Palais, built for the World Fair in 1900, reopened to the public after closing on Friday. The Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, meanwhile, are preparing to reopen, which will be welcome news for the city’s visitors and tourism industry.