The Eiffel Tower will welcome back visitors from June 25, its operators have announced. The Paris landmark has been shuttered since March 13 in line with France’s lockdown, which continues to ease.
The three-month closure is the longest the landmark has been shut since the Second World War, although its nightly light show has continued throughout. Bright bulbs spelling out messages of thanks to health workers and urging Parisians to stay at home have beamed out every evening while the city endured one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
When the Eiffel Tower does reopen in two weeks, measures will be put in place to ensure a safe trip for visitors. Initially, the lifts will be closed, so the only way up will be via the stairs, raising questions about accessibility for those with limited mobility. Staircases will be divided into ascending and descending options, to ensure that visitors don’t meet each other going up or down.
The top floor, which is only accessible by lift, will remain closed. “The lifts taking visitors from second to top floor are small”, says the tower’s website, which also vaguely states: “It might reopen during the summer."
Other measures will include daily disinfection of all public spaces, strict capacity limits on each floor and ground markings to ensure social distancing. All visitors over the age of 11 must wear face masks or they will be denied entry.
Visitors are being urged to book ahead online, although the ticket office will be open, with contactless payment strongly encouraged. Opening hours have been restricted to 10am to 9pm – usually in the summer the tower stays open until 12.45am. Paris’s most famous monument normally attracts seven million visitors a year, around 75 per cent of whom are from abroad.
It is unclear when the tower’s various restaurants, which include a top floor champagne bar, Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant and more casual bistro, might reopen. However, it seems unlikely that the buffets on the first and second floors will return any time soon.
As France moves into its second phase of easing restrictions, many of the country’s most popular attractions are also making plans to reopen. The Louvre will return on July 6, while the Musée d’Orsay will open its doors on June 23. The museum and gardens at the Palace of Versailles reopened on June 6.