What an impressive renovation project (over 300-meter high, it makes our heads spin). The Eiffel Tower gets a new color; but this time, the restoration goes deeper. Workers and painters currently hanging from the monument’s beams have to scrap and remove 19 layers of paint before applying the twentieth layer.
If such thorough care is taken it is because the Eiffel Tower is getting ready for a very special event. This new “do” has been thought up ahead of Paris 2024 Olympics. When the world will have eyes on the City of Lights, the flagship monument must be gleaming!
On the occasion, the Eiffel Tower will get a “yellow-brown” color that has a golden shimmer – the color first wanted by Gustave Eiffel, and the color of the medals France hopes to win during the Games. Good riddance to the “Eiffel Tower Brown” Parisians were used to since 1968.
SETE (the company exploiting the monument) director general Patrick Branco Ruivo explains AFP that this mix of yellow and brown “will give a more ‘golden’ look to the Eiffel Tower for the Games, than the color we are used to see”. He adds that “you can already have a look of the new color when looking at the top. This is not groundbreaking, but when there are beautiful blue skies in Paris, you can see some metal-like and sparkling gleams”.
As a matter of fact, this massive restoration has started in 2019 and is set to end – if everything goes as planned – in November 2022. It consists in sanding and repainting the 18,000 pieces – held together by 2.5 million rivets that create the building. The operation costs 50 million euros.
Another difficulty adds to workers’ mission: they have to comply with a strict health protocol when sanding the Tower because paints previously used have lead in them, which is an element harmful to one’s health and the environment.
SETE technical director Alain Dumas says they are “extremely cautious in terms of safety, it’s our priority”. About fifty samples are collected in the different areas of the Tower every week and the worksite enjoys specific gear and decontamination areas. The director also guarantees lead levels – considered too high during the previous samples – are back to normal again. “One week later, we measured the indicated spots again and we got quite satisfactory results below the required threshold” he says.
This early 2021, only 2% of the structure has been sanded: the arch leading to the Champ-de-Mars, the part the most exposed to bad weather and the most damaged part of the Eiffel Tower.
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