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EIFFEL TOWER

Eiffel Tower makeover: Is the Iron Lady set to change her colour?

The Eiffel Tower is set to undergo a major three-year makeover and could be about to shed its brown colour and instead dazzle visitors with a new, brighter coat of paint.

Eiffel Tower makeover: Is the Iron Lady set to change her colour?
Photo: AFP
It's fair to say that the black and white images that captured the early days of the Eiffel Tower in Paris might have given people a false impression of what the Iron Lady really looked like in those days. 
 
But a three-year makeover which is set to take place from October 2018 through to the end of 2021 could see the world famous monument return to its more colourful roots. 
 
It might be hard to imagine but at the request of its designer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was painted red due to the colour's rust fighting capabilities when it was first erected in 1889. In 1892, it was painted an equally hard to imagine ochre – a light shade of orange. 
 
And it didn't stop there. 
 
In 1899, things really got creative when the monument was painted an orange yellow at its base and light yellow at the top. And from 1907 to 1954, it was a yellow brown colour before it was painted brown red in 1968. 
 
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Eiffel Tower ticket prices skyrocket to fund renovationsPhoto: AFP

Today, the Iron Lady is painted a specially designed shade of brown and it hasn't yet been decided whether the monument will definitely be given a bright makeover.
 
Architects who deal specifically with the French capital's historical monuments, the Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris will analyse the 19 layers of paint deposited over 129 years on its metal beams.
 
“We will rediscover and revive these old colors, like we do when we restore an old painting. This will give some food for thought as to whether to add nuances or not to the current hue,” a heritage specialist told the French press.
 
And unsurprisingly, giving France's Iron lady a fresh coat of paint would be no small feat.
 
In fact, it would take 60 tons of paint to cover the 10,000-ton structure. 
 
Major maintenance works have already started at the monument and security is also being increased at the tower, one of the world's most popular tourist spots.
 
A total of €300 million will be spent on the monument over 15 years, a large portion of which will go towards the construction of a bullet-proof glass wall around the tower.
 
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Paris: Eiffel Tower to be secured by huge bulletproof wall of glass

TOURISM

Eiffel Tower reopens from its longest closure since World War II

The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors on Friday for the first time in nine months following its longest closure since World War II.

Eiffel Tower reopens from its longest closure since World War II
The Eiffel Tower reopens on Friday. Photo: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP

The lifts of the Dame de fer (Iron Lady) are set to whir back into life, transporting tourists to its 300-metre summit, ending a long period of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daily capacity is restricted to 13,000 people, however, about half of the normal level, in order to respect social distancing.

And from Wednesday next week, visitors will need to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test, in line with recent government-imposed requirements on the pass sanitaire (health passport).

READ ALSO How France’s expanded health passport will work this summer

“Obviously it’s an additional operational complication, but it’s manageable,” the head of the operating company, Jean-François Martins, told AFP.

After a final round of safety checks by staff, he announced that the “lady is ready”.

Early reservations for tickets during the summer holiday period underline how the tourism industry in Paris has changed due to travel restrictions.

Martins said there was an “almost total absence” of British ticket holders, while only 15 percent were Americans and very few are from Asia.

READ ALSO Eiffel Tower: 13 things you didn’t know about Paris’ ‘iron lady’

Half of visitors are expected to be French, while Italians and Spanish make up a higher proportion than usual.

The long closure has caused havoc with the finances of the operating company, Sete, which runs the monument on behalf of Paris city authorities.

It is set to seek additional government aid and a fresh €60-million cash injection to stay afloat, having seen its revenues fall by 75 percent to €25 million in 2020.

The masterpiece by architect Gustave Eiffel has also been hit by problems linked to its latest paint job, the 20th time it has been repainted since its construction in 1889.

Work was halted in February because of high levels of lead detected on the site, which poses a health risk to workers.

Tests are still underway and painting is set to resume only in the autumn, meaning a part of the facade is obscured by scaffolding and safety nets.

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