The Seine water level is finally starting to decrease after flooding peaks in Paris


Two people use a canoe on a flooded street in the town of Moret sur Loing south of Paris (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The water level of the Seine river in Paris is starting to decrease after reaching its peak overnight, the highest in nearly 35 years, French authorities say.

But they warned it could take up to ten days for the river to return to its normal levels after the flooding that swelled the river to about 4.5 metres (15 feet) above average in Paris.

More than 17,000 homes were still without electricity on Saturday in the Paris region and centre of France.

Authorities have also shut the Louvre museum, the national library, the Orsay museum and the Grand Palais, Paris' striking glass-and-steel topped exhibition centre.

Visitors read an information sheet about the closing of the Musee de Louvre (Markus Schreiber/AP)

French prime minister Manuel Valls says the death toll from the flooding across the country has risen to four while 24 people have been injured.

He did not give any more details about the additional death, which brings the death toll across Europe from the flooding in recent days to 17.

People looking at the floods stand on the Alma bridge by the Zouave statue (Jerome Delay/AP)

After a meeting at a government crisis centre on Saturday, Valls confirmed the water level of the Seine was now decreasing "slowly but steadily" in Paris.

Valls also announced several ministerial meetings next week to ensure quick financial help to the people affected.
He urged Paris visitors and residents to "take care to observe safety precautions" since many have been walking along the river banks to look at the high water.

Nearly a week of heavy rain has led to serious flooding across parts of France, Germany, Romania and Belgium.