Eiffel Tower reopens with message of defiance

The Eiffel Tower, closed since Friday's terrorist attacks, reopened to the public Monday afternoon and will be lit up in the colours of the French flag for three nights.

Eiffel Tower reopens with message of defiance
The Eiffel Tower lit up in the colours of the French flag for Bastille Day 2015. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

France's most famous monument began welcoming visitors again on Monday at 4:20pm after it was closed throughout the weekend.

The tower's operations organization announced that the structure would be illuminated in the French tricolour, red, white and blue, from dusk till 1am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

In addition, the city's motto 'fluctuat nec megritur' will be projected onto the tower. The motto translates literally as 'tossed but not sunk', but is usually rendered as 'it is beaten by the waves but does not sink' – a message which seems particularly appropriate as the city struggles to make sense of Friday's horrific attacks.

Buildings and monuments in cities around the world were illuminated in the colours of the French flag over the weekend, in a display of solidarity with victims of the attacks which killed 129 people of 19 nationalities. 

Additional security measures and police officers are in place at the tower.

The Eiffel Tower is usually visited by up to 20,000 people each day. Its lights were switched off on Friday night after the news of the attacks, and it has stayed closed as a state of emergency was proclaimed across France.

The lights were turned back on Sunday evening, but the usual twinkling which occurs for five minutes at each hour has not yet been restarted. “It didn't seem appropriate to us,” Isabelle Esnous, Director of Communication at the tower, told AFP.

France's museums and concert halls were permitted to open their doors from 1pm on Monday, Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin announced.


Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

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