The Denon Wing, home of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and usually the most crowded of the museum’s three wings, was ghostly

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PARIS — The square at the center of the Louvre, dominated by I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid, was desolate Friday, save for a few tourists taking selfies.

The swollen Seine River kept rising, spilling into Paris streets and forcing one landmark after another to shut down as the river surged to its highest levels in nearly 35 years. Across the city, museums — including the Louvre — parks and cemeteries were closed as the city braced for possible evacuations.

Inside the Louvre, employees and volunteers worked around the clock to remove artwork from the threat of the rising waters.

French culture minister Audrey Azoulay; the museum’s president, Jean-Luc Martinez; and other officials took journalists on a tour of the strangely vacant museum Friday afternoon.

The Denon Wing, home of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and usually the most crowded of the museum’s three wings, was ghostly. Rooms packed with Renaissance and Baroque Italian masterpieces were empty. The “Winged Victory of Samothrace” was bereft of its usual admirers.

Inside the galleries containing Greek and Roman antiquities, the situation was more chaotic. Near the 2,200-year-old “Venus de Milo,” storage boxes were piled atop each other. Boxes completely encircled some sculptures, like one of a crouching Aphrodite from the 3rd century B.C.

At the other end of the room, the goddess of wisdom, Athena, kept an eye on the metal drawers stacked to her side. The Hellenistic gallery had become just another storage room for treasures from elsewhere in the Louvre.

Some 150,000 pieces of art in storage rooms, and an additional 7,000 pieces in galleries, were deemed vulnerable to flooding, and many were moved to higher floors starting Thursday evening.

Museum officials activated a flood-protection plan established in 2002. The plan includes, among other things, an inventory of all works that would need to be transferred to upper floors of the museum, and plans to slow the spread of any water entering the museum.

Although the Seine was expected to crest early Saturday at about 21 feet, and no water had entered the museum — yet — officials were taking no chances.

“The situation is still evolving hour per hour,” a deputy mayor of Paris, Colombe Brossel, said at a news conference at City Hall, adding that authorities estimated it would take at least a week or two for the water to recede to normal levels.

Nearly a week of heavy rain led to serious flooding across a swathe of Europe, leaving at least 16 people dead and others missing.

Near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, pieces of tree trunks floated along the swollen river. The waters had risen to the waistline of the Zouave, a notable statue next to the Pont de l’Alma that has traditionally been used as a gauge of the Seine’s levels. The city’s government urged residents to move valuables out of their basements. An art collection had to be removed from the City Hall in Ivry-sur-Seine, a southeastern suburb of Paris.

Other cultural institutions that were closed included the Musée d’Orsay, known for its Impressionist art; the Musée du quai Branly, which is devoted to non-Western art; and the main Bibliothèque Nationale building.

The Seine has not overflowed this much since December 1982, when it rose to about 20 feet, but was still short of the 26.2 feet reached in the catastrophic flood of January 1910.

Despite deaths and widespread damage from the flooding, moving the Louvre’s artwork attracted the most attention.

The works in storage were the easiest to handle.

“It took us less time than we thought, because the artwork was already in containment boxes so we just had to move them from one floor to an upper one,” said Adel Ziane, the museum’s deputy director of communications.

The flood-protection plan, for all its detail, does not prioritize among works of art. How, in a palace of treasures, can one select the very best?

“It is difficult to say which one is more valuable,” Ziane said. “They are all priceless and we decided the evacuation according to their risk of exposure.”