Eiffel Tower goes bulletproof: France ups security at iconic site (PHOTOS)
After a spate of terrorist attacks in France in recent years, including co-ordinated Islamist gun and suicide bomb attacks at the center of Paris in November 2015 and the Nice truck attack last year, France is currently in a state of emergency.
In August, French police apprehended a man trying to push past an Eiffel Tower security checkpoint while brandishing a knife.
Last year, tourist officials reported a drop in visitors to the Eiffel Tower. But efforts are now underway to entice tourists back to the iconic viewing deck through a $300 million modernization project.
The overhaul includes additional security measures, new signage and an increase in online ticket availability from 2018.
According to French newspaper L’Echo, the glass wall installation began on Monday with construction planned so as to cause as little disruption as possible to the lucrative tourist attraction.
The Eiffel Tower’s operating company, SETE, is overseeing the project. Glass bulletproof panels will be placed on the north and south axes facing the Champs de Mars and the bridge of Jena.
Earlier this year, Paris Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins indicated that it was time to replace the temporary steel barriers that have been in place around the tower since the start of Euro 2016.
“Currently, the perimeter is protected by unsightly temporary installations, which take the form of high-grade metal grids and modular buildings. It is useful in terms of security, but it spoils the monument,” Martin said.
France is due to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
Organizers of the summer games have plans to use tourist attractions as locations for certain sports, including the Eiffel Tower as a beach volleyball arena and archery at the Esplanade des Invalides.