Betraying Gustave

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Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower is riddled with rust and structurally weak, according to a series of leaked reports that come as the city prepares to host the 2024 Olympic Games, the Guardian reported.

French magazine Marianne published a number of reports this week showing that the tower has been experiencing corrosion for years, including 64 faults that were said to pose a risk to the “durability” of the structure.

Following the monument’s completion in 1889, Gustave Eiffel – the civil engineer whose company designed and built the tower – warned that stopping the spread of rust was the biggest challenge to the construction’s longevity and recommended it be painted every seven years.

Since then, Eiffel Tower has been repainted 19 times and will undergo a 20th renovation in preparation for the 2024 Olympics.

But experts told Marianne that the nearly $62 million repaint project was only a facelift and warned that the final results would be “lamentable.”

Initially, officials had planned to strip the paint and then add two new coats to a third of the tower. However, due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the existence of harmful levels of lead in the old paint, just five percent of the tower will be treated.

According to one expert, the proposed partial makeover would not address the excessive lead levels or the corrosion, risking a continued worsening of the tower’s condition.

Sete, the company that oversees the tower, has refused to close the monument for prolonged periods of time, fearing a loss from tourist revenue.

The nearly 1,100-foot tower attracts around six million visitors annually, making it the fourth most visited cultural site in France after Disneyland, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the closure of the monument led to a loss of almost $55 million in revenue.

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