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Happy Birthday Eiffel Tower

World landmark celebrates the 120th anniversary of its official opening with a new coat of paint.

30 March 2009

THE Eiffel tower celebrates its 120th birthday today with the start of a one-year project to repaint it.

It is the 19th time the tower has been repainted in its unique brown colour which is designed to giver it a bronze effect in Paris’ night light.

On average the tower is repainted every seven years and it is thought around 250 tonnes of paint have collected over the years.

If one day it had to be stripped, the tower “would have to close for around five years”, said Paris mayoral assistant in charge of tourism, Jean-Bernard Bros.

Twenty five painters from Greek company La Stelma based in Saint-Nazaire, specialists in painting boats, will carry out the job which is expected to take a year.

One painter Aderito Dos Santos Baptista said he knew the Eiffel Tower “like the back of his hand” having taken part in every repainting since 1981.

However, he said the project remained a challenge because of the height and added that you could never be complacent while working on the tower.

Despite the precarious conditions there have been no deaths while workmen have been repainting the tower

Of the 60 tonnes of paint used to repaint the tower each time, only 15 tonnes remain seven years later with sand and wind eroding the paint.

Some key figures:

The tower is 324m high including its aerial, with three floors open to tourists and two technical floors.

Its construction took two years, two months and five days and it was officially opened on March 31, 1889.

Two tonnes of paper are used per year for entry tickets.

The tower is the most the most popular paid-for monument in the world with 6,930,000 visitors in 2008.


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