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Paris: Work begins on Eiffel Tower’s bulletproof glass wall

Works began Monday to boost security at the Eiffel Tower as an anti-terrorism measure, city hall said, with bulletproof glass walls set to go up around the world's most visited monument.

Paris: Work begins on Eiffel Tower's bulletproof glass wall
Eiffel Tower. AFP.
The changes come after a string of jihadist attacks in the French capital over the past two years in which more than 200 people have died.
   
A bulletproof glass wall will be installed around the monument's gardens under the 30-million-euro ($36-million), nine-month works, the city's tourism chief, Jean-Francois Martins, told AFP.
   
Visited by six to seven million people each year, the landmark already has a permanent police patrol.
 
But Paris councillors voted unanimously in March to boost its security due to the “particularly high terrorist threat”.
 
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Photo: AFP

   
Some 7,000 troops have been deployed under an anti-terrorism operation known as Sentinelle, patrolling streets and guarding tourist hotspots, since the jihadist attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in January 2015.
   
Martins said the renovations “will not disrupt visitors' arrival in any way” and that tourists would still be able to walk up to the tower for free, after passing through security checks.
 
A two-year project to repaint the 128-year-old wrought-iron tower will kick off in 2018, as well as refurbishment of its elevators, which will take two years longer.
   
The building of a new reception centre will start in 2021 and last for two years, Martins said.
   
But he indicated that controversial plans for an underground centre with a shopping gallery have been scrapped.
   
City officials are trying to upgrade the site without denting visitor numbers as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
 
In total 300 million euros have been put aside to improve visitors' experience of the UNESCO World Heritage site over the next 15 years, half of it for maintenance.

TRAVEL NEWS

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”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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