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CULTURE

What the Eiffel Tower will look like in 2024

Ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games, Paris' Eiffel Tower is getting a facelift - here's what the famous Champ-de-Mars is set to look like, and why the revamp has sparked protests.

What the Eiffel Tower will look like in 2024
The Esplanade du Trocadero near the Eiffel tower (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)

After concern over plans to cut down the 42 trees lining the Eiffel Tower in order to build tourist facilities, Paris’ Mayor’s office has agreed to revise plans for the renovation of Champs-de-Mars. 

But the Eiffel Tower and the whole of the Champ-de-Mars area are still expected to be completely transformed ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

Here is what it’s set to look like:

The tower will be painted gold

For its latest paint job, the famous Iron Lady will be returned to the “yellow-brown” colour Gustave Eiffel intended for it in 1907. The tower was originally painted red when it was first presented during the 1889 World’s Fair, and it has sported 20 different shades over the years. The “yellow-brown” colour is intended to be a nod to the colour of Olympic medals.

READ MORE: Plan to fell trees near Eiffel Tower causes backlash from residents in French capital

“It will give the Eiffel Tower a more ‘golden’ look during the Olympics compared to the colour we used to have,” explained Patrick Branco Ruivo, general manager of the Sete, the operating company of the Parisian monument to AFP

Rope access technicians repaint the Eiffel Tower on February 1, 2021 in Paris. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)
 

The Pont d’Iéna will become pedestrian only

The bridge connecting the Eiffel Tower on rive gauche to Trocadéro on rive droite will soon become no-car zone, lined with trees and greenery. Only public transport and emergency vehicles will use the lanes that have been built in place of the current sidewalks.

“It was time to make it easier for pedestrians to get around,” explained the Mayor’s office to French daily Le Parisien.

 

A walkable area under the Tower

The space under the Eiffel Tower will be revitalised with walking paths and grass. 

 
 
A new, green amphitheatre at Trocadero
 
There will no longer be a traffic circle around the statue of Marshal Foch. Instead, cars will circulate in two directions on the outside side. New tiered seating will be built onto the Place de Trocadero, offering over 12,000 seats and a lovely view of the tower. 

A green promenade on the quai Branly

The Quai Branly will also become green and walkable, with hedges and shrubs planted along the roadway to protect pedestrians from traffic. The number of lanes for cars will be reduced from four to two, and a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour will be implemented to give pedestrians the priority.

READ MORE: Anne Hidalgo’s eco-friendly plans for Paris: Speed limits, parking spaces and bikes

Not everyone is too pleased with these plans, particularly those living in the immediate vicinity.

Danièle Giazzi, mayor of the 16th arrondisement, told Paris daily Le Parisien that he fears the “risk of blockage in the whole sector” and that he “does not like the fact that one can no longer go from the left bank to the right bank and vice versa, except by scooter.”

To visualise the change in traffic patterns, Le Parisien created this infographic

La fontaine de Varsovie

The walkways on the east and west sides of the Warsaw Fountain will be redesigned to be more accessible for families and for those with mobile disabilities. Lawned steps and terraces, covered with grass, will be used for festive events.

The majority of the Warsaw Square will be reserved for pedestrians, and eventually it will be used for other festive events. 

Paris’ own ‘Central Park’

When all of the work has been completed, this Champ-de-Mars gardens will extend all the way to the École Militaire. This will become a promenade of more than 1.5 kilometers, or 50 hectares, the equivalent of about 70 soccer fields.

Speaking of the new ‘lungs’ for the city, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said: “We’re going to have an extraordinary garden to hear the birds sing again.”

Member comments

  1. This kind of reflex anti-car stuff is one reason Hidalgo did so badly in the election. Nothing is thought thru, and there are no alternatives for those who, for various reasons, need cars. Not everyone is a super-fit cyclist of 30 with nothing to carry.

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CULTURE

Cannes film-makers urge France to face up to colonial past

Film-makers are holding up a mirror to France over its colonial past at the Cannes festival, helped by star power and a growing French readiness to face up to injustices committed notably in Africa.

Cannes film-makers urge France to face up to colonial past

The colonisation of Algeria and the horrors of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) deeply scarred both nations and continues to mar relations, but was hardly discussed in France in public for decades.

Although President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged crimes committed — including a massacre by police of Algerians in Paris in 1961 which he called “inexcusable” — his government has ruled out “presenting an apology” for France’s colonial past.

“I think you could say that I’m obsessed by the Algerian war,” French director Philippe Faucon told AFP at the Cannes festival.

His film “Les Harkis” tells the story of Algerians who fought alongside French troops against the independence movement, only to be left behind for the most part when France pulled out of Algeria, and facing the vengeance of the victorious Algerians.

The movie places the responsibility for this “criminal betrayal” and the subsequent massacres of Harkis firmly at the doorstep of then-president Charles de Gaulle.

“It is necessary to recall this story and look the truth in the eyes,” said Algerian-born Faucon, although historical “complexities” make easy judgments impossible.

French director Philippe Faucon, pictured at his former high school in in Marseille, 2016.

French director Philippe Faucon, pictured at his former high school in in Marseille, 2016. Photo by BERTRAND LANGLOIS / AFP

‘Everybody needs to know’ 

Fellow director Mathieu Vadepied also warned against facile conclusions about France’s forced recruitment of Senegalese soldiers for its World War I war effort, the subject of his film “Tirailleurs” (“Father and Soldier”).

French superstar Omar Sy — who has won a huge international following with his roles in “Untouchable” and the Netflix smash hit “Lupin” — plays the lead in the story about a father and a son who are both forced into the trenches.

French director Mathieu Vadepied (L) and French actor and comedian Omar Sy pose during a photo call for the film "Father And Soldier (Tirailleurs)" during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 19th, 2022.

French director Mathieu Vadepied (L) and French actor and comedian Omar Sy pose during a photo call for the film “Father And Soldier (Tirailleurs)” during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 19th, 2022. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP.

“My idea is to put things into question,” Vadepied told AFP. “Question France’s historical relationship with its former colonies, what do we have to say about that today, do we even know what we did?”

While rejecting any “frontally political” approach, he said that “if we deny the facts we can never move on, we need to tell these stories, everybody needs to know them.”

The idea was however “not to guilt-trip people, but to recognise the painful history and free ourselves”.

Sy, the France-born son of west African immigrants, told the audience at the film’s opening night: “We have the same story, but we don’t have the same memories.”

The second Cannes week will see the screening of “Nos Frangins” (“Our Brothers”) by French director Rachid Bouchareb who in 2006 sparked a nationwide debate with “Indigenes” (“Days of Glory”), a film about the contribution of North African soldiers to the French Free Forces during World War II.

In his latest movie, he tells the story of Malik Oussekine, a student killed in 1986 and whose name resonates deeply among French minorities.

On the night of December 6, 1986, two police officers beat to death the 22-year-old French-Algerian on the sidelines of a student protest in Paris.

He had not been involved in the demonstration, and his killing became a turning point — triggering weeks of unrest and leading to the unprecedented conviction of the officers involved.

It took 35 years for the death of Malik Oussekine to be recounted on-screen.

READ MORE: After 60 years, France struggles to come to terms with its Algerian past

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