• France's news in English

Paris plans to give Eiffel Tower a face lift

Matthew Warren · 12 Oct 2011, 12:47

Published: 12 Oct 2011 16:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Oct 2011 12:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

City authorities in Paris announced a €25 million ($34.4 million) plan to cheer up the first floor of the Paris landmark on Tuesday, including a 300-seater auditorium, shops, a museum and a glass floor for visitors to walk on.

The plans were announced by deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo who said the integrity of the 122-year old "iron lady" would be preserved.

"We must do something bold while also respecting our heritage," she said during a presentation of the designs which have been created by the Moatti-Rivière architects practice.

The first floor is the least visited of the 324-metre tower's three levels. Fewer than half the 7 million visitors each year choose to visit it, preferring the superior views on the two higher floors.

The designs envisage transparent constructions that will sit between the four pillars of the tower and will house a 300-seat conference hall for special events. The 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant which currently sits on the first floor will remain in place but will also be updated.

A dramatic glass walkway will cover part of the central void of the tower, giving visitors the impression of floating over the people below.

The work is only the third facelift for the tower which was constructed in 1889 as part of that year's Universal Exhibition. 

It was not appreciated by all Parisians when it went up with many writing angry letters to newspapers. One, signed by well-known figures of the time including writer Alexandre Dumas and Paris Opera architect Charles Garnier, spoke of the "odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates."

The tower was due to be torn down after 20 years but it was found to be useful for communication purposes so was left up.

The tower is now one of the capital's most-visited sites, although it is beaten in visitor numbers by the Notre Dame cathedral which attracts 13 million visitors a year.


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available