The Eiffel Tower Is Getting a Gilded Makeover Ahead of the 2024 Olympics, and It’ll Look Totally Different

published Feb 17, 2021
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If taking a trip to Paris and visiting the Eiffel Tower remains on your eternal travel bucket list, or if you’re simply dreaming about your first big post-pandemic international journey, you might be in for a big surprise once you finally make it to the City of Love’s most iconic structure. The Eiffel Tower is getting a shiny new makeover ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, slated to take place in Paris, and it’s getting a gilded paint job to welcome athletes and spectators from all over the world for the historic event.

As Lonely Planet reported, work will soon begin to take the wrought iron lattice tower, which is best known for its custom shade of brown paint, to a new yellow-brown hue, in an effort to help it serve as a bright, stunning backdrop to the Olympic games and festivities. The makeover will cost a whopping $60 million to complete because the tower’s previous layers of paint must be stripped off, and prior paint jobs included lead-based paints, now known to be toxic to humans. Special health protocols have been put in place to ensure the safety of workers, and work has already begun to complete the transformation, scheduled for sometime next year.

Time Out Paris reports the makeover will be the most extensive one in the Eiffel Tower’s 130-year history, but even the biggest Francophiles might be surprised to know that it hasn’t always sported that signature shade of brown. In fact, Lonely Planet reports it’s been varying shades of yellow, orange, and even red, as recently as the 1960s.

When it was first erected, Lonely Planet notes that the tower was painted red at the request of designer Gustave Eiffel, but it was given a new paint job to ochre (a light orange hue) just three years later. Then, a decade after its debut, it was painted orange-yellow at its base and light yellow on top, the color it was until 1968, when it was painted the reddish brown hue we know it to have today.

With an average of 7 million visitors a year in a non-Olympics, non-pandemic year, it seems long overdue for a fresh coat of paint and a new color, but the painters will have to stock up in bulk—the paint job will require 60 tons (or 132,277 pounds) of paint to complete, which is why it will take close to two years start to finish. Still, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime for some workers, with steeplejack Charles-Henri Piret praising the unbeatable views, telling France24, “It’s not every day you get to hang off a rope at 300 meters.”

Stay tuned to find out when, exactly, in 2022 the fresh golden paint will be visible, but until then, be thankful you’re not visiting during frigid winter weather conditions. In a video posted to the Eiffel Tower’s official Twitter account (yes, the Eiffel Tower is on Twitter), workers can be seen using a blowtorch to remove ice, because “ice-control salt is too corrosive for the metal,” as they shared.