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


La Tour Eiffel?

The globally recognised structure opened in the spring of 1889, designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Made of iron, it was built to be one of the key attractions at the Paris World's Fair in the year of its unveiling, although when it was being constructed, controversy raged over its design and the money spent on it - 7,799,401.31 French gold francs, or about $1.5 million then - with detractors declaring it would "dishonour Paris like a gigantic black factory chimney" and be nothing more than an "odious column of bolted metal”.



The 1,062 ft tall 7,300-tonne monument, able to be seen from all over Paris day and night, quickly became a ‘must-see’ monument, now attracting around six million visitors a year and a focus for romantic proposals of marriage, with 1 in 679 proposals posted on Instagram said to be made at the tower or nearby.


It can change size?

Like any metal, the ‘puddled iron’ it is made of reacts to summer’s high temperatures and the lows of winter, so can rise and fall in height by a few centimetres.


Anyway, what’s the issue?

According to a report leaked to the French magazine Marianne, the famous Parisian structure is in “very bad shape”, reportedly beset with rust and in need of major repairs. One unnamed worker at the tower said: “If Gustave Eiffel visited the place, he would have a heart attack.”


It’s serious?

According to a report by Expiris, a firm specialising in rust prevention, only 10 per cent of the paintwork was holding firm as long ago as 2014. The rest was said to be ‘flaking and crumbling’. Bernard Giovannoni, an expert at the firm, said: “I had been working on the tower for several years. In 2014, I concluded that it was very urgent to attack the corrosion.” Another report in 2016 found 884 defects – 68 of them structural issues and engineers recommended a thorough overhaul that would involve removing the old layers of paint.



The Paris local authority-owned firm, Sete, which manages the tower, ordered for it to be given a new layer of paint ahead of the 2024 Olympics - its 20th since it was built. But specialists warn the layer upon layer is making corrosion issues worse. One told the publication: “In some places, a single layer of paint is being daubed on to existing layers which are flaking and not holding. It’s a heresy.”


It remains open?

When Covid enforced the tower’s closure for eight months, it led to a loss of €52m in income. And while specialists at the tower say it is in no immediate danger, it will need an overhaul within the next decade. Meanwhile, the tourists continue to arrive.