Get gold: Eiffel Tower gets Olympic facelift | More sports news


PARIS: The Eiffel Tower has embarked on the most extensive overhaul in its 130-year history to give its best for the Paris Olympics in 2024, including with a paint job that gives it a distinctly golden hue.
Not only are layers of the 19 previous paints removed, but the Paris icon also loses the signature “Eiffel Tower Brown” that it has had since 1968.
It is replaced by a yellow-brown composition that Gustave Eiffel himself wanted for his memorial.
“It will give the Eiffel Tower a slightly more golden hue than the color we’re used to in time for the Olympics,” said Patrick Branco Ruivo, the CEO of the company that operates the tower.
The renovation work for the 324 meter high tower with its 18,000 metal parts, which are held together by 2.5 million rivets, is monumental and amounts to an estimated 50 million euros.
Peeling off the old layers is made dangerous by the presence of lead, which requires a strict health protocol for workers.
The Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years, both to protect its metal structure from wind, rain, sun and pollution and to maintain its appearance.
The ongoing work began in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2022, when the new gold tone – which is only vaguely visible on top of the tower for the time being – will be visible to everyone.
“Why did Gustave Eiffel pick yellow-brown? Probably the Eiffel Tower would reflect the whole city of Paris with its stone houses made of limestone,” said Pierre-Antoine Gatier, the chief architect for France’s historic monuments, who decided to change the color.
For some of the workers, it’s the job of a lifetime.
“Most of the time, we move like we’re on a canopy adventure course,” said Antoine Olhagaray, a 22-year-old steeplejack.
“Not to mention the view,” added his colleague Charles-Henri Piret. “It’s not every day that you hang on a rope at a height of 300 meters.”
The Eiffel Tower will play a prominent role in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris and will serve as the backdrop for triathlon and open water swimming events.
It will also tower over much of the adjoining festivities along the Seine, where crowds are expected to gather for shows, concerts, and other entertainment.