France: Eiffel Tower reopens, ending 104-day coronavirus shutdown


The Eiffel Tower on Thursday welcomed back visitors after the coronavirus outbreak forced the Paris landmark into its longest period out of action since World War Two.

Lifts that usually whisk visitors up the Eiffel Tower remain closed for now. (File photo: Reuters)

Marking another milestone in France’s recovery from coronavirus lockdown, the Eiffel Tower in Paris reopened to visitors Thursday after its longest-ever closure in peacetime – 104 days. Tourists who are trickling back to Paris were delighted to find the landmark open when some other attractions in the French capital remain closed. However, the Louvre Museum isn’t reopening until July 6.

“It’s very special, very special because it’s only the Paris people,” said Annelies Bouwhuis, a 43-year-old visitor from the Netherlands. “We’ve seen a lot of Paris people enjoying their city, enjoying their parks without all the tourists.” Lifts that usually whisk visitors up the 324-meter (1,063-feet) tall wrought-iron Eiffel Tower remain closed, so, for now, people have to take the stairs.

Of the tower’s three decks, only the first two reopened. Those who made the climb Thursday were rewarded with far-away views and a light breeze in scorching summer weather. “I booked the first slot because afterward, it will be very hot,” said Sabine Peaufils, a 57-year-old Parisian. “This is a real pleasure.” The tower lost 27 million euros ($30 million) from the lockdown that started in March, according to its director-general, Patrick Branco Ruivo.

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