The scenic carefree walk that used to be enjoyed by Parisians and tourists at the base of the city’s most iconic landmark is about to end. Since the Euro soccer championship in 2016, metal fences have been placed near the base of the Eiffel Tower for protection. On Thursday, the city’s assistant mayor for tourism, Jean-Francois Martins announced that the north and south sides of the tower would have eight-foot (2.5 meters) high permanent, bullet proof glass walls to replace what are deemed to be “unsightly” metal security gates.
Protecting the tower
It cannot be denied that there’s always a threat to public and national security in many prominent cities around the world. Paris wants to protect its citizens, visitors and its historic landmarks. Anne Hidalgo, Paris city mayor proposed a 15-year, $318 million (€300 million) Eiffel Tower upgrade in January. This will include stronger security, improved entrance for visitors, brighter lights and better elevators.
The two glass walls, which are included in the security proposal, will be erected close to the base of the Eiffel Tower to replace the metal barriers that were previously placed there.
Martins called the glass walls “aesthetic perimeter” that will provide better security for the monument while ensuring that the tower will still look good in photos. He added that the metal fences, while keeping the Eiffel Tower secure, mar the view of the tower. The glass walls will provide tourists and locals an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower from popular photo ops spots, like the Pont d’Iéna (Iena Bridge) and the Champs de Mars Park.
Around six million visitors visit the Eiffel Tower annually, earning a revenue of about $87 million (€82 million). Annual allocation for the tower’s upkeep is $14.5 million (€13.7 million). The glass fences are expected to cost around $21 million or €20 million.
The City of Lights has beefed up security around its popular tourist attractions due to the spate of terror attacks. The erection of the glass walls, while securing the tower, means that they will not diminish the grand view of the monument that people are used to enjoy. They will also be securing two nearby ponds. Visitors can still stroll under the tower. Only this time, even if they are not going to climb the Eiffel Tower, they will have to pass through security checkpoints. While it might be inconvenient, people will soon get used to it as most cultural attractions across the globe now have increased security checkpoints, too. Entry to the monument’s forecourt is still free, according to Martins.
Martins said that the bullet proof glass walls would protect the base of the 128-year old Eiffel Tower from attacking individuals and vehicles.
The glass walls are expected to be erected later in the year. The eastern and western sides of the tower’s base will have ornate fencing to replace the temporary barriers that were placed there last year.