The Eiffel Tower covers its ills with ‘gold’

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The Eiffel Tower covers its ills with ‘gold’

An investigative report from a French magazine sounds the alarm about the conservation status of the emblematic monument, which is being restored for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris with the twentieth painting campaign in its 133-year history

Unaware of the hordes of tourists, painters, strapped to harnesses and cables, move along one of the Eiffel Tower’s pillars, armed with buckets and brushes to clean, rust-proof and hand-paint the wrought-iron structure. With the naked eye you can see some rusty parts of the monument from the ground due to the bad weather.

An investigative report by the magazine ‘Marianne’ about the bad conversation of the monument, built 133 years ago by Gustave Eiffel on the occasion of the 1889 World’s Fair, has sounded the alarm in Paris this summer. “We saw Notre-Dame burn, will we see the Eiffel Tower fall?” the magazine wondered in a sensational tone, assuring that if Gustave Eiffel visited the monument, “he would have a syncope”.

According to ‘Marianne’, citing confidential reports, the Eiffel Tower is “in a terrible state”, “eaten with rust” and “maintenance leaves much to be desired”. The magazine criticizes that instead of addressing “the Iron Lady” structural problems, it only gets a cosmetic coat of paint to cover up its ailments.

From the Exploitation Society of the Eiffel Tower (SETE), they deny this alarming information. The Eiffel Tower “has never been so well-preserved as it is now,” Patrick Branco Ruivo, SETE’s general manager, told the AFP agency, assuring that the monument “will stand with this immaculate iron.”

“For the first time in its history, we stripped the tower, that is, we removed all the layers of paint” from the arch on the Champs de Mars, which was the most damaged, Ruivo explains. “We found that the filler iron was impeccable, despite the fact that it was the most damaged part” by rust, adds SETE’s director general. Until now, only one coat of paint was applied on top of the other.

Ruivo specifies that of the 68 warning points listed in the report, “we have already addressed six and will continue to address the others.” According to the person in charge of SETE, of the 800 defects discovered in 18,000 metal parts, according to the magazine ‘Marianne’, most are fragments that have not been given the maximum grade.

“Behind that paint that is flaking, flaking, that’s irregular, the iron chosen by Gustave Eiffel is in an excellent state of conservation,” Pierre-Antoine Gatier, chief architect of the Historic Monuments, confirms to the TF1 television network.

Gustave Eiffel in 1900 in his work ‘The Tower of 300 meters’ insisted on “the importance of painting in the preservation of a metalwork and that the more accurate the painting, the longer the lifespan”.

For this reason, the Eiffel Tower is painted every seven years on average to protect it from rust. Since 1968 she has been wearing ‘Eiffel Tower Brown’, a color similar to bronze and designed especially for her. Since its construction, it has changed color several times, from the reddish brown of the inauguration to the brownish red of the 1950s.

Looking ahead to the 2024 Olympics, after this twentieth painting campaign, the Eiffel Tower will shine again in the ‘tawny-brown’ color it had in 1907. That was the color Gustave Eiffel wanted when it was decided that he would keep the Eiffel Tower after the World’s Fair, rather than dismantle it as originally planned.

As in the days of civil engineering, paint is still applied by hand. And the paint fades in three shades, from the lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom, to ensure an even color perception against the Parisian sky.

Despite its ills, the Eiffel Tower, a symbol of France and Paris, remains a magnet for tourists. In the middle of the high season, nowadays it is impossible to find a ticket to climb to the top on the website of the monument, so many tourists have to settle for the view of Paris from the second floor of the emblematic place.

With nearly 7 million visitors a year, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world. It currently welcomes around 20,000 visitors a day, the same number it had before the coronavirus pandemic. Since its opening in 1889, it has received more than 300 million visitors.

Source: La Verdad

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