Rising water level in River Seine in flood-affected Paris has prompted authorities to keep the landmark Louvre museum closed on Friday to evacuate historic artwork kept in its underground reserves. The decision was made after the river burst its banks on Thursday, following days of torrential rain in the French capital. “The aim is to move works situated in areas vulnerable to flooding to safety by moving them to higher floors,” the Louvre said in a statement, AFP reported.

Earlier, the riverside museum has downplayed the threat rising water levels posed to the artefacts in its underground reserves, which are equipped anti-flood pumps and sealed waterproof doors. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world, housing works such as the Mona Lisa as well as priceless Egyptian artefacts.

Over the week, thunderstorms and torrential rain hit Germany, claiming at least eight lives, and moved northward towards France. The Musee d’Orsay – another museum in Paris located on the opposite bank of the river facing the Louvre – closed early on Thursday to put its action plan in place to evacuate precious artwork to safety. A crisis management team has been formed to oversee the shifting of the valuable treasures to the upper floors, as Seine continues to swell. It is estimated that water level in the river could rise to a height 6 metres above normal on Friday.