Eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower gets a makeover before the Paris 2024 Olympics

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The Eiffel Tower has embarked on the most comprehensive overhaul in its 130-year history to look its best for the 2024 Paris Olympics, including a paint job giving it a distinctly golden hue.

Not only will layers from the previous 19 coats of paint be removed, but the Parisian icon will also lose the signature “brown Eiffel Tower” it has sported since 1968.

It will be replaced by a yellow-brown composition that Gustave Eiffel himself wanted for his monument.

“It’s going to give the Eiffel Tower a little more golden hue than the color we’re used to seeing, in time for the Olympics,” said Patrick Branco Ruivo, CEO of the company that operates the tower.

The renovation work for the 324-meter (1,063-foot) tower, with its 18,000 metal parts held together by 2.5 million rivets, is monumental, costing around 50 million euros ($60 million ).

The stripping of old layers is made dangerous by the presence of lead, requiring a strict health protocol for workers.

The Eiffel Tower receives a new coat of paint every seven years, both to protect its metal structure from wind, rain, sun and pollution, and to maintain its appearance.

Ongoing work began in 2019 and is due to be completed by 2022 when the new golden hue – which for now can only be vaguely detected at the top of the tower – will be visible to all.

“Why did Gustave Eiffel choose yellow-brown? Probably so that the Eiffel Tower would echo the whole city of Paris, with its freestone and limestone houses,” said Pierre-Antoine Gatier, architect Chief of Historic Monuments of France, who decided to change the color.

For some workers, it’s the job of a lifetime.

“Most of the time, we move like in a tree climbing course”, says 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 to a rope 300 meters away.”

The Eiffel Tower will play a prominent role in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, serving as the backdrop for the triathlon and open water swimming events.

It will also dominate much of the adjacent festivities along the Seine, where crowds are expected to flock for shows, concerts and other entertainment.