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Eiffel Tower to reopen in July from longest closure since WWII

The Eiffel Tower will reopen on July 16th after nine months of closure due to the pandemic, the Paris landmark's operator said on Thursday.

Eiffel Tower to reopen in July from longest closure since WWII
The Eiffel Tower has been closed to visitors since October 2020. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Visitor numbers will be limited to 10,000 a day to meet social distancing requirements, fewer than half of their pre-Covid levels, operator Sete told AFP.

All floors of the monument will be accessible to visitors, except some areas where renovation work is ongoing.

Only 50 percent of the usual numbers will be allowed in the lifts.

IN DETAIL: When do France’s top tourist sites reopen?

The Eiffel Tower has been undergoing the most extensive revamp of its 130-year history to look its best for the 2024 Paris Olympics, including with a paint job to give it a distinctly golden hue.

But painting was suspended after traces of lead were found in existing layers, making it hazardous to continue.

The re-opening marks the emergence of the 10-tonne metal landmark from its longest closure since World War II.

It was shut down for more than three months during the first Covid wave in the spring of last year, and then again in the autumn.

“After several months of closure, we are impatient to have our staff and visitors back with, of course, a strict compliance with health protocols,” Sete president Jean-François Martins said in a statement.

Online bookings will open on June 1st.

The monument, completed in 1889, usually receives about seven million visitors every year, some three-quarters of them from abroad.

But because of Covid restrictions, it now expects a loss of €70 million for 2021, after a loss of €52 million last year, forcing it to seek fresh financing.

“We cannot absorb both loss-making years with our existing capital,” Martins said, adding he expected the Paris authorities “to help us get through this”.

Disneyland Paris, another tourist magnet, said on Monday it would reopen on June 17th as across France shops, cinemas, tourist sites and café, bar and restaurant terraces reopened on Wednesday. 

Member comments

  1. Don’t know if anyone pointed it out yet, but the weight of the Eiffel Tower is NOT ’10 tonnes.’ That’s off by a factor of a thousand! The actual weight is over 10,000 tonnes.

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TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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