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La Grande Arche 'is falling down'

Government promises €200m to pay for “important renovation work” to one of Paris’s most iconic modern buildings

THE FRENCH government has promised to pay €200m for two years of “important renovation work” on one of Paris’s most iconic modern buildings - La Grande Arche de la Défense.

The 20th-century’s Arc de Triomphe opened on Bastille Day in 1989, the bicentenary of the French Revolution - and was seen at the time as a powerful and dramatic symbol of France’s economic influence.

A quarter of a century later, the famous building is crumbling.

The roof – which houses a viewing platform, restaurant, museum and conference centre, and which attracted about 250,000 visitors a year – has been closed to the public since 2010 following a lift accident.

Safety studies have shown that one in six of the porous Italian Carrara marble tiles that cover the building are susceptible to both the weather and Paris’s pollution.

An area of the north side of the arch has been sealed off after fears that tiles could fall on people below.

Marble tiles on the south side of the building have already been replaced by harder-wearing granite.

La Grande Arche - a marble and glass cube measuring 110m high by 110m wide and 110m deep - is big enough to fit Notre Dame cathedral in its arch.

Photo: F Delventhal

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