France: Workers strike to mark centenary of Eiffel Tower builder

  • By Nadia Ragozina
  • BBC News

image source, Dimitar Tilkoff/Getty Images

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was closed on Wednesday due to a staff strike.

Workers protested the way the tower was managed, France's powerful CGT union said.

The date of their strike was not chosen by chance: December 27, the centenary of the death of the tower's creator, Gustave Eiffel.

A visionary engineer and entrepreneur, Eiffel died on this day in 1923 at the age of 91.

Completed in 1889, the so-called Iron Lady remains one of the world's premier tourist attractions, attracting 5.85 million visitors last year, 7% of whom came from the UK alone.

Tower operator SETE apologized for the strike, which it said was caused by a section of staff, saying the esplanade under and around the structure remained open. It said visitors with electronic tickets should check their email.

The hard-left CGT union said staff had decided to strike because SETE was “heading for disaster”, with an “over-ambitious and unacceptable” economic model that underestimated annual visitor numbers and costs. Maintenance and renewal.

The top floor of the Eiffel Tower will be closed next month for the annual decoration that will last several weeks.

The strike will not dampen the spirits of those who want to celebrate the iconic monument and the centenary of its creator's death.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the engineer In a post on X, formerly Twitter: “It's been 100 years since Gustave Eiffel left us. But his legacy to the world is very much alive!”

Eiffel, a civil engineer who made his name building bridges and viaducts for the French railway network, contributed to the construction of the Statue of Liberty.

However, he is best known for the tower, designed to showcase France's modern industrial prowess on the world stage as the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition, or World's Fair.

Built over two years, it was the tallest building in the world at the time and quickly became a defining image of the French capital.

image source, Spencer Arnold Collection/Getty Images

image caption,

Gustave Eiffel: 15 December 1832 – 27 December 1923

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