The Seine reached 6.10 metres at about 2.00am Saturday and then started to subside – to 6.04 metres at 10.00am.
Water levels were much lower than the 8.63 metres reached Paris’s during historic floods of 1910 but near those of 1982, according to the flood prevention service, which pointed out that the river could swell again thanks to water from its numerous tributaries.
The waters were still rising in some areas outside the capital, in the central town of Tours, for example, and more flooding was possible between the Normandy city of Rouen and the Seine’s mouth.
About 100 people were rehoused in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department, in eastern France, and 17,110 homes were without electricity on Saturday.
Rail traffic to take days to recover
“A return to normal will obviously take some time,” Valls said on a visit to the crisis cell at the Interior Ministry Saturday.
Rail traffic will not be back to normal until the latter half of next week, the boss of rail company SNCF, Guillaume Pepy told the AFP news agency.
Seven of 14 Transilien lines in the Paris region have suffered “extremely serious” incidents, according to the network’s head, Alain Krakovitch.
In Paris itself the RER C line, that passes near the Seine, was under four metres of water and two metro stations, Saint Michel and Cluny-la-Sorbonne were closed.
Hollande visits Louvre overnight
The Louvre museum and the Musée d’Orsay, home to a collection of 19th-century art, remained closed, as did the Grand Palais galleries and the national library.
President François Hollande visited the Louvre overnight to show support for staff moving art works from its lower floors.
Insurance companies expect the cost of damage to reach at least 600 million euros and business representatives have asked for government aid for stricken companies.
Storms in the south
Storms were still possible in the Paris region and central France on Saturday, forecasters said, and, while the day in the south would start with sunshine, storms were expected in the Pyrenees mountains and the south-west and in the Alps and Massif Central mountains.