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Eiffel Tower, new finery for a world star

The Iron Lady celebrates her 130th birthday and she has just received a beautiful birthday present: a park, which will surround her like a green setting. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo presented Tuesday, May 21 at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal, the winning project of the international architectural competition launched in 2017 to redevelop the surroundings of the site, a vast area of ​​54 hectares, from Trocadéro to Bir Hakeim Military and Metro School at Quai-Branly Museum.

The Paris jury chose the project led by American landscaper Kathryn Gustafson, entitled "One". " His proposal is to rethink the site as a whole, like a huge garden Commented the mayor, who considered the project consistent with her vision of the capital " which must go from mineral to vegetable ".

A "return to nature"

" Today, our return to nature resembles that of the Impressionists of Gustave Eiffel's timeKathryn Gustafson said. Our project remains in the historical spirit of the site which combines picturesque gardens, romantic, and the French garden which dares to have an axis, a clear force. "

The Eiffel Tower is preparing for new finery

The site will have two times. A first phase (2021-2023) will concern the area from Trocadero to the first third of the Champs de Mars. " On this first perimeter, vegetation will increase by 35% Says Kathryn Gustafson. A second phase (2024-2030), implemented after the Olympic Games in Paris, will continue the development until Military School. "We hope then to accentuate even more the increase of the vegetation", says the landscaper

Concretely, a lawn amphitheater will be installed at the top of the Trocadero, with a descent of greenery in tiers towards the Seine. The Jena bridge, planted with trees along its entire length, will be reserved for pedestrians, buses and bicycles. On the forecourt of the tower, a pool fed by rainwater will offer a "mirror of water". On either side of the pillars, tumuli covered with vegetation will host luggage. Kiosks everywhere will offer information, shops and toilets.

A lawn amphitheater will be installed at the top of the Trocadero / Gustafson Porter + Bowman

In the end, the chosen project appears more landscape than architectural. " On this site, there is already the architecture of the Eiffel Tower and Trocaderocomments Frédéric Chartier, architect of the winning project. It is indeed a question of carrying out a work of subtraction and dissimulation of the new elements. "

A flow of seven million annual visitors

Will this act be enough to improve the welcome of the 6 million people who climb the tower each year and the 20 million walkers it attracts? " I am afraid that this big park project is missing the real challenge, the welcome of the flow of tourists, responds Bertrand Lemoine, architect and historian of the Eiffel Tower. It should have been planned to put people warm and sheltered from the rain in winter, offer them good conditions to queue … Since always, no one dares to take the risk of digging under the Eiffel Tower, but could have imagined digging nearby, for example under the Champs de Mars … "

It must be said that the Eiffel Tower is partly a victim of its DNA. Created by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World Fair, it was conceived from the beginning to be admired from all over the world. With the growth of tourism, the entire planet has flocked. Today, 80% of those who climb it are foreigners, Americans in the lead (11%), followed by the British (7%) and Spaniards (6%). " Parisians and Parisians, they ignore the tower, points Patrick Branco Ruivo, managing director of Sete, Company operating the Eiffel Tower. They know her, love her but do not come to visit her. "

6million people climb the Eiffel Tower every year./MIR for Gustafson Porter + Bowman

To attract them, the Sete, 99% owned by the Paris City Hall, is currently renewing the catering offer, the shops, launching events (Escape Game, concerts), which seem yet anecdotal in view of the 360 ​​° panorama what the tower offers on the capital … « The goal is that the French do not come two or three times in their lives: when they are children, then with their children and grandchildren, but more regularly ", Discount Patrick Branco Ruivo.

"The" Parisian monument

For Esther, 5, and Roch, 7, from Ardèche, the visit was a must for their first "climb" in Paris. " It is they who insisted, it was unavoidable!says Daphne, their mother, a former Parisian, astonished by their enthusiasm. It's "the" Parisian monument they knew, whereas we never really talked about it. It's really part of the culture. "

The charm is also exercised at the other end of the planet and the age scale. Binghui, 74, from Beijing, went to the Eiffel Tower during each of his three trips to Paris. " The Eiffel Tower is very well known in China. We are like you, everyone finds it very beautiful! "he smiled.

Work on the monument

To be the most beautiful at the Paris Olympics in 2024, the monument committed in 2016 a major restoration of 230 million euros. " Everything is expensive when you work on the Eiffel Tower, because of the suspended work, the security conditions and the opening of the site 365 days a year ", Bernard Gaudillère, adviser of Paris and chairman of the board of directors of Sète.

The security of the reinforced Eiffel Tower

This project, which will be carried out in parallel with the development of the surroundings, includes the installation of the anti-bomb wall installed last summer, the complete restoration of the North lift, stripping – the first historic – of about 15 % of the surface of the tower and its complete painting. Color "Brown Eiffel Tower", as it should be.

This restoration is financed by Sete, which obtained in 2017 an increase of the entrance ticket, which jumped from 17 € to 25 € for a rise to 3e floor by elevator. " We stay below the price of the great tours of the world, justifies Bernard Gaudillère. And our agreement provides that every Parisian child will benefit from a free visit during his schooling. " The most cynical will say that, in any case, the tower is always full. In summer, it can accommodate up to 25,000 visitors in one day …

By the way, does the symbol have a price? The philosopher Roland Barthes did not address this issue when he meditated on the Eiffel Tower in 1964 (1). He preferred to point out his sublime force of attraction, seeing form in which men do not cease to put meaning (…), without this meaning being never finished and fixed. This unique tower, "Empty" he pointed out, activates the imaginary function that serves to humans to be human ". How to grow old with such a mission?


The Eiffel Tower, a symbol for 130 years

1889. Inauguration of the Eiffel Tower, which attracts 1.9 million visitors during the World Expo.

Once the exhibition is over, interest falls (149,000 visitors in 1899). Its future is far from being saved when the end of the concession arrives in 1909.

To avoid the demolition, Eiffel puts forward its usefulness: meteorological laboratory, astronomical observatory, relay for the wireless telegraphy … In 1910, the concession is renewed for 70 years.

During the two world conflicts, the Eiffel Tower is closed.

From the 1960s, the monument is installed as a must-see tourist spot. It crossed the threshold of three million visitors in 1974, 4 million in 1984, 5 million in 1989, 6 million in 1998 …

To celebrate the year 2000, the tower is illuminated by a twinkle (of 20,000 bulbs), which will be perpetuated because of its success.

2015. After the attack against Charlie Hebdo and during the commemoration of the Armenian genocide, the tower is plunged into darkness as a sign of mourning. These extinctions are a prerogative of the mayor of Paris.

. (tagsToTranslate) Paris (t) Olympic Games 2024 (t) Culture (s) new (t) world (t) Eiffel (t) finery


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