Eiffel tower

Problem of the day: The “rusty” Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower attracts around six million visitors a year

It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, recognized as a symbol of Paris and France and also an international symbol of love, but it seems that all is not well at the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower?

The world-renowned structure opened in the spring of 1889, designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Made of iron, it was built to be one of the main attractions of the Paris World’s Fair the year it opened, although during its construction controversy raged over its design and the money spent. – 7,799,401.31 French gold francs, or about $1.5 million then – with detractors stating that it would “disgrace Paris like a gigantic black factory chimney” and be nothing more than an “odious column of bolted metal”.


The 1,062-foot-tall, 7,300-ton monument, visible from all over Paris day and night, has quickly become a must-see landmark, now attracting around six million visitors a year and a hotbed of romantic marriage proposals, with 1 in 679 proposals posted on Instagram said to be made at or near the tower.

Can it change size?

Like any metal, the “wrought iron” of which it is made reacts to high temperatures in summer and low temperatures in winter, and can therefore rise and fall in height by a few centimeters.

Anyway, what’s the problem?

According to a leaked report to the French magazine Marianne, the famous Parisian structure is in “very poor condition”, has been plagued by rust and is in need of major repairs. An anonymous tower worker said, “If Gustave Eiffel visited the place, he would have a heart attack.”

It is serious?

According to a report by Expiris, a company specializing in rust prevention, only 10% of the paint was holding up as of 2014. The rest would have been “flaking and crumbling”. Bernard Giovannoni, firm expert, said: “I had been working on the tower for several years. In 2014, I concluded that there was a very urgent need to tackle corrosion. Another 2016 report found 884 flaws, including 68 structural issues, and engineers recommended a major overhaul that would involve removing old layers of paint.

In place?

Paris-based company Sete, which manages the tower, has ordered it to receive a fresh coat of paint ahead of the 2024 Olympics – its 20th since construction. But experts warn that coat after coat makes corrosion problems worse. One told the publication: ‘In some places a single coat of paint is smeared over existing coats which are chipping and not holding. It is heresy.

Does it stay open?

When Covid forced the tower to close for eight months, it resulted in a loss of revenue of 52 million euros. And while tower specialists say it is not in immediate danger, it will need an overhaul within the next decade. Meanwhile, tourists continue to arrive.