The Eiffel Tower, the French capital’s iconic landmark, reopened on Friday after a 260-day break, the longest closure since World War II, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
The reopening ceremony took place at 1.00 p.m. (11:00 GMT), with the first guests having arrived hours before the long-awaited event.
“About 70,000 tickets for this summer were sold in six weeks. We are expecting to receive 10,000-13,000 people daily, this is less than during [pre-pandemic] times”, Jean-Francois Martins, the chief of the tower’s operating firm Sete, told reporters.
The anticipated number of visitors is twice fewer than before the COVID-19 due to sanitary measures. All guests over 11 years old must wear masks, and all those aged 18 and older will have to present a pass with information about vaccinations, antibodies and PCR test results starting 21 July.
Martins also noted that half of the reserved tickets were booked online by the French, the rest by foreign tourists, of which 35% were Europeans and 15% Americans.
“For 132 years, the Eiffel Tower has seen everything — wars, and now the pandemic. But we are looking toward the future with confidence. Some things do not depend on us, such as the epidemiological situation. But we will be able to adapt to it to preserve the safety and health of everyone. And today we welcome visitors again with great joy and enthusiasm”, the Sete chief said.
The Eiffel Tower was designed and built from 1887-1889 by the company of its engineer, Gustave Eiffel.