Completed in 1889 for the Paris World Fair, the Eiffel Tower is one of the city’s and indeed France‘s most well-known landmarks. At 324 m tall, the tower was the highest building in the world until the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931.
1. The works
To maintain the monument in good shape, both in terms of protection against weather elements, but also in terms of aesthetics, it is repainted every 7 years. Currently, it is undergoing the 20th and biggest repainting in its 133-year history, making it ready to welcome the 2024 summer Olympics.
The €60 million makeover consist of repainting the entire tower with a golden-brown colour, which is closer to what architect Gustave Eiffel envisioned it over a century ago. Moreover, works and renovations on the elevators are also ongoing.
2. Divided opinions
The works were supposed to be completed by this year, but the pandemic and the lead found in the older layers of paint have delayed the works. Opinions on the outcome are divided between tourists and experts.
On the one hand, experts cited by Marianne magazine believe the expensive cosmetic paint job is not enough and the tower is actually badly in need of repairs. “It is simple, if Gustave Eiffel visited the place he would have a heart attack”, the French magazine quotes a tower manager.
The publication’s sources also revealed that the monument is “in poor state and riddled with rust” and while the renovation for the Olympics was supposed to see 30% of the pain completely stripped off and then 2 fresh layers applied, the delays made it possible for only 5% of the tower’s surface to undergo the proper treatment.
On the other side, tourists are expressing their discontent with the scaffoldings all around the city. Some of them cross oceans to reach the city of love and are left disappointed when they cannot take a good picture with its symbol. “It’s a shame the area is under construction”, “I don’t know if this is a temporary construction or whatever but it’s bugging me”, “Frankly, it’s very, very disappointing. It’s a shame! To take a photo you need to be much farther away. It’s a waste!”, said some of the visitors, quoted by France 24.
Others are more understanding of the situation and expressed their love for the French capital regardless of the works. They pointed out that there are enough monuments in Paris it does not really matter if some are under renovation works. There is always something to see, after all, “Paris is Paris!”