The Eiffel Tower is rusting and in urgent need of repair. But the repair will only be possible after the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It will be given a cosmetic 60 million euro job after the 2024 Olympic games in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower, also known as the Iron Lady of Paris, was designed to stand for 20 years before being demolished when it was finished in 1889. The tower has survived for 133 years, albeit this is less due to design than to careful upkeep.
The 1,063 ft. high tower, constructed by Gustave Eiffel in the late 19th century, is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. About six million tourists visit the Eiffel Tower each year. However, recently disclosed confidential reports explain that the monument is in a poor state and filled with rust. “It is simple; if Gustave Eiffel visited the place, he would have a heart attack,” one unnamed manager at the tower gave the statement. This will be the 20th time the tower has been repainted.
About 30% of the tower was planned to be stripped and then have two new coats applied, but because of delays, only 5% will be treated. The work was delayed because of the COVID pandemic and the presence of lead in old paint.
Although authorities are reluctant to close the tower for a long time because of the source of revenue through tourists that would be lost, When it was completed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower – Paris’s Iron Lady – was expected to stand for 20 years before being dismantled. One hundred and thirty-three years on, the tower is still standing, less by design than through diligent maintenance.
The 324-meter-tall, 7,300-tonne iron tower was built for the 1889 world’s fair. It has an estimated 2.5 million rivets and was built using puddle iron, invented in Britain during the Industrial Revolution through a process that produced high-grade and purer wrought iron by removing carbon from pig iron in the melting process. Before it opened, it was given four coats of red lead paint, now banned but then considered the best anti-corrosive agent.
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Eiffel, the civil engineer whose company designed and built the monument, said identifying and stopping the spread of rust was the biggest challenge to the construction’s longevity and suggested it would need painting every seven years. “Paint is the essential ingredient for protecting a metallic structure, and the care with which this is done is the only guarantee of its longevity,” he wrote at the time. “The most important thing is to prevent the start of rust.”The tower is undergoing a €60m repaint in preparation for the 2024 Olympics.
Experts said that the work was only a cosmetic facelift and predicted that the final result would be “lamentable.” They say the tower needs to be completely stripped back to the metal, repaired, and repainted, and that painting over old paint is making the corrosion worse.
The company that oversees the tower, Sete, which is 99%-owned by the city hall, is reluctant to close it for a long period because of the tourist revenue that would be lost. The tower receives about 6 million visitors in a typical year, making it the fourth most visited cultural site in France after Disneyland, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles. Its COVID-enforced closure in 2020 led to a loss of €52m in income.
The tower’s management company, Sete, is also considering closing the tower for the renovation because it would mean losing millions of tourists. The most visited landmark in France after Disneyland, the Louver, and the Palace of Versailles was closed to tourists as a result of the COVID-29 pandemic, resulting in an estimated €52 million loss in revenue.