The Eiffel Tower, 15-Years Renovation

As the City of Light bids to hold the 2024 Olympic Games, its iconic landmark is getting a $318 million facelift. Here, a timeline of the monument’s makeovers throughout history.

Everyone enjoys a little sprucing now and then, and the Eiffel Tower is no exception. The historic Parisian landmark is getting a $318 million facelift.

You won’t notice an immediate difference in the monument, because the renovations will take place over the next 15 years. However, once the facelift is completed, city authorities say there will be improvements to security, shelters to protect visitors waiting in line in the snow or rain, new painting and stripping, upgraded elevators, modernization of the lower second floor, and shorter lines thanks to new reception spaces and better crowd flow management.

Thousands of lights that illuminate the tower will also be updated, making the City of Light brighter than ever.

The announcement comes at a time when the city is also bidding as a candidate for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 and World Expo 2025. The most significant parts of the renovations will be completed before 2024, according to The Guardian.

Originally built for the 1889 World’s Fair as a temporary structure, the Eiffel Tower has stood the test of time thanks to renovations throughout the years. Few updates in the past, however, have been as grand as this one.

Perhaps the most significant, before now, took place in 1981, when the tower was stripped to be made 1,000 tons lighter (additional weight, such as a restaurant, had been added after the tower was built, but created major structural deformities like sagging). During this renovation, elevators and staircases were also reconstructed and security was upgraded.

Intrigued about how else the tower has stood changed over time? Read on for a fascinating timeline of upgrades to the Eiffel Tower, according to the La Tour Eiffel itself.

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French government officials take part in an inaugural tour to mark the completion of the main structural work on the Eiffel Tower on March 31, 1889.


The year the tower opened, it was outfitted with a three-colored light with a blue, white and red signal that turned every 90 seconds. During this time, the original elevators’ brakes were tested (by quite literally cutting their metallic cables — luckily, the emergency brakes worked) and hundreds of lampposts illuminated the tower.


New elevators are provided by the Fives-Lille Company in the east and west pillars, making 10 trips per hour and bringing up 40 passengers each time.


During World War I, the Eiffel Tower was closed.


Architect André Grasset built the largest chandelier in the world to hang under the first platform during the Arts and Techniques Exhibit. The chandelier included 32,808 feet of multicolored fluorescent tubes connected to 30 projectors that pointed to the sky.


During World War II, the Eiffel Tower was closed.

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