BERLIN (AFP) - Four bodies were found floating in homes in France and Germany on Wednesday in flash floods that also left water lapping at the doors of one of the Loire Valley's most famous chateaux.
Heavy rains lashing parts of France, Germany and Austria cut roads, stranded people on rooftops and forced schools to close their doors.
Three people who had been trapped in a house at Simbach am Inn in southern Germany were found dead, local authorities said, while the body of an 86-year-old woman was found in her flooded house in Souppes-sur-Loing in central France.
In France's Loire Valley, a large expanse of water was pooled in front of the 16th century Chateau of Chambord, reflecting the much-visited Renaissance castle's image.
In one incident in southern Bavaria, emergency services rescued 20 members of a school group when a boat trip on the Regen river ran into trouble with strong currents sparked by a sudden storm, authorities said.
At the French Open - the only major tennis tournament still without protection from the rain - the constant interruptions prompted an outburst from frustrated Spanish player David Ferrer who exclaimed "I've been cheated!"
South of Paris, in the town of Montargis, the deluge turned one street into a canal forcing locals to don gum boots to wade through the flood waters.
Elsewhere, in southern Germany the rains left trucks jacknifed on flooded roads at Simbach am Inn, while residents in the town of Braunsbach formed a human chain across mud-drenched streets to remove water from inundated homes.
Four people died and a dozen were injured in the southern Baden-Wuerttemberg region from Sunday to Monday.
On Bavaria's southeastern border with Austria, firefighters and other emergency services were dispatched to stricken towns where roads and bridges were cut and some residents had to seek refuge from the waters on rooftops.
"The floods came so quickly that people had to escape to the roofs of their houses," a spokesman for the Lower Bavaria regional police said, adding that many streets were submerged.
In the town of Triftern, around 200 schoolchildren bunked down in their school, preparing to spend the night Wednesday after becoming cut off. A town spokesman said the school building itself was out of danger as it was on higher ground.
Over the border in Austria, heavy rain lashed the Salzburg region, flooding several roads and forcing several schools to announce closures for Thursday.
In central France, residents called the emergency services 8,000 times in recent days to demand assistance due to flooding.
In Paris, many promenades along the Seine were closed due to high water while in Nemours, 80km to the south, residents had to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon after the Loing river burst its banks.
"In 60 years of living here, I have never seen this," Sylvette Gounaud, a minimarket worker in Nemours said.
The neighbouring Loiret region, home to the chateau of Chambord, saw the average rainfall of six weeks in just three days.