For those with a fear of heights, the Eiffel Tower’s new face lift may not be for you. The first floor now has sections made of glass.
The $38 million dollar upgrade allows visitors to feel like they are walking on air as they look down through the tower’s center to the ground almost 200 feet below.
Celebration of 125th Birthday
The Eiffel Tower was erected for the 1889 World Fair and today it is the world’s most-visited paying attraction in the world. The landmark monument’s new see-through glass viewing platforms on the first floor are part of the tower’s 125th birthday celebration.
The glass panels are located in four small viewing sections 187 feet from the ground. The goal of the new transparent floor was to transform a drab and drafty space into a unique draw for this favorite attraction.
Challenge to Modernize and Remain True
The challenge behind this renovation is that Paris city authorities want to promote the Eiffel Tower as more than a major tourist attraction. They also want it to be a symbol of Paris’ regeneration.
“Originally it was a challenge of engineering innovation; today the challenge is to continue that spirit, by modernizing, renovating, reinterpreting the Eiffel Tower while remaining true to its history. It’s a process of permanent reflection.” — Jean-François Martins, deputy mayor of Paris
This isn’t the first time the tower has undergone major renovations since 1889. The modernization involved a lot of glass and burgundy-colored metal, while back in 1937 the original ornamental pavilions were replaced .
In 1981 the pavilions were then covered in mirrors. Then in 2003, lights were added that twinkle for the first five minutes each hour at night.
Along with the new glass walkways, the renovation also includes solar panels and added wheelchair access to the outer platform. A new museum also offers displays depicting the history of this monument.
Photo credits: Press Association