On the third floor of the Eiffel Tower this Wednesday. - Francois Mori / AP / SIPA
One more floor. After four months of closure due to coronavirus and while the first two floors were already accessible to visitors since June 25, it is now the third floor of the Eiffel Tower which reopened this Wednesday to visitors and tourists, duly masked.
Shortly before 10 a.m., the first tourists arrived with their families. Some Colombians but especially French and Ile-de-France people who came to taste the joys of discovery, or reunion, with the Iron Lady.
"10,000 visitors last weekend"
All have complied with health regulations: wearing a mandatory mask and hydroalcoholic gel dispensers installed on each floor. From the entrance to the tower on the third floor, some 2,000 signboards remind people in several languages - French, English, Italian but "not Chinese because Chinese tourists have not returned" - the rules of hygiene and physical distance from respect.
At the foot of the tower, the aisles have been redone to make the welcome warmer. Business is picking up slowly but surely in this high place of world tourism. "Since the reopening of the first two floors on June 25, we have welcomed 5,000 visitors during the first weekend, then 7,000 in the second and 10,000 last weekend," said Patrick Branco Ruivo, general manager of the operating company Tour Eiffel, while confinement resulted in a loss of 9 million euros per month for the company.
"Two-thirds are French"
Since June 25, the typical visitor profile has changed. Before confinement, 80% of visitors were foreign, 20% French. "Today, two-thirds are French and a third are foreigners", according to Patrick Branco Ruivo.
To attract these local tourists, the Eiffel Tower has decided to offer new services: half-rates for children from 4 to 11 years old (now set at two euros), DJ evening set on Thursdays and Friday evenings to attract young people: we do not dance, distance requires, but we listen to music on a large summer terrace, overlooking the Champ de Mars, on the 1st floor.
In connection with the City of Paris, artists of “live performance” will also be invited to perform and in August, there will be concerts and hip-hop, announces Frédéric Hocquard, assistant to the City of Paris, responsible for Nightlife and Culture.
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