VIDEO: Why selfie-loving tourists are disappointed by Paris

The Local/AFP
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VIDEO: Why selfie-loving tourists are disappointed by Paris
Tourists at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photo: AFP

Tourists are flocking back to the French capital after two years of travel restrictions, but is it still possible to take a photo with some of the city's best-known monuments?


From the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame, many of Paris' iconic landmarks are currently hidden behind scaffolding.

In the case of Notre-Dame, the cathedral has been closed ever since the devastating fire ripped through it in 2019 - although it is possible to do a 3D virtual-reality tour of the Medieval structure.

Other monuments are partially obscured behind the scaffolding and boards that have become a major feature as the city prepares itself for the Olympics in 2024.


All of which means that taking that classic selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower is now a little tricky.


One Spanish tourist told AFP: "It's such a shame that the area around the Eiffel Tower is under construction because it's the most emblematic area of Paris."

A French visitor agreed: "It's a shame, a shame."

Every year millions of tourists head to Trocadero as it offers a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower -- used as a backdrop countless times by celebrities and fashion models.

But the lengthy renovation works on the esplanade, which are nearing their end, pepper the horizon with fences and make the hunt for the ideal photo for social media more challenging.

"Finally after Covid, we get to come here ... I don't know if this is a temporary construction or whatever but it's bugging me," said Tami Agmon, a doctor on holiday from Israel.

It's a similar story in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, which is undergoing extensive renovation works after the 2019 fire that almost burned the Gothic monument to the ground.

"We were at the Eiffel Tower and our pictures were ruined a little bit because of the construction going on there but nothing as much as over here!" said American tourist Steven Engelberg.

Parisian monuments have opted for different techniques to ease the eyesore -- the Madeleine Church is covered with a billboard featuring Mont Saint Michel, while the National Assembly -- parliament -- opted to reproduce its own facade.

At the foot of the obelisk on the Place de la Concorde, tour guide Thierry Collegia told AFP he faces questions about the extensive construction works.

"I mainly tell them that it's because of the 2024 Olympics," said Collegia, adding that mostly tourists were delighted to be back in Paris.

"And there are so many monuments in Paris to admire that if some are undergoing building work, it's not such a big deal," he added.

Paris is clocking up visitor numbers that resemble those before the Covid-19 pandemic brought trips to a stop.

Some 12.1 million people visited the capital between January and May 2022, only three million fewer than during the same period in 2019, according to City Hall.


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