PARIS — France kept treading water Friday as ongoing floods and transit strikes gripped various parts of the country, but it was business as usual for retailers.
The river Seine, which sweeps through the center of Paris, swelled close to a 30-year record high, when at 4 p.m. CET it reached 60.04 meters, or 19.8 feet, according to the city’s Deputy Mayor Colombe Brossel in charge of security and prevention, while giving an interview aired on the channel BFMTV.
“It is expected to reach its peak on Friday evening at between 6.3 meters [or 20.7 feet] and 6.5 meters [or 21.3 feet],” she said, adding that the river’s banks have been shut down to traffic since Tuesday.
That didn’t cause the Dries Van Noten boutique, at 7 Quai Malaquais along the Seine, to close Friday — and the boutique was set to remain open on Saturday, too.
The Louvre, also lining the riverbank, said it closed Friday “to ensure the protection of the works located in flood zones,” and would remain shuttered through the end of the day Tuesday. But Le Carrousel du Louvre shopping center in the museum’s basement — which includes retailers such as Printemps, Lacoste, Jo Malone, Caudalie, Lancel and Apple — stayed open.
Meanwhile, Les Arts Décoratifs in another part of the Louvre building, did not shut the doors of its exhibition “Fashion Forward, Three Centuries of Fashion,” and is to remain open over the weekend.
Olivier Gabet, Les Arts Décoratifs director, told WWD that the museum has over the past two days begun moving part of its archives to a drier location outside of Paris.
“For fashion and textiles — everything is in a safe place,” he said.
In other museum news: The Musée d’Orsay, which had canceled its late night opening on Thursday, said it will remain shut at least through Monday as part of a protective action against flooding.
The Grand Palais, which currently has on the “Monumenta” exhibition, opted to close its doors at 2:30 p.m. Friday and plans to give information about its reopening on its web site.
Transport in France has been snarled as a result of ongoing transit strikes — which on Friday impacted six out of 10 rapid TGV trains; four out of 10 trains of the Transilien suburban railway line; one out of three intercity trains, and one out of two TER regional trains — and floods.
The Paris transport authority, known as RATP, said on its web site that two metro stations were shut down protectively on Friday — Cluny-La Sorbonne and Saint Michel, which are on the Left Bank, close to Notre Dame cathedral — following the closure of the express regional train RER C on Thursday due to flooding. If the Seine rises to 6.6 meters [or 20.7 feet], the RATP said it will shutter other stations.
Transport disruptions are expected to continue through the weekend.
Most restaurants keep serving in the City of Light, including the new eatery Loulou in Les Arts Décoratifs and the Café Marly, a favorite haunt of the fashion set that’s under the arcades of the Louvre’s Richelieu wing. Faust, the hip restaurant and club located under the Alexandre III bridge that spans the river Seine, was closed Friday, as was Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, housed on a boat.
As reported, after several days of raging rains, France’s President François Hollande on Thursday said he would declare on June 8 a state of natural disaster in areas worst hit by flooding, which will free up emergency funds.