Leaked Report Reveals Eiffel Tower Riddled With Rust, In Desperate Need Of Repair
French magazine Marianne cites confidential reports that show the Eiffel Tower is deteriorating and riddled with rust. The tower desperately needs full repair, not just a cosmetic refurbishment.
“If Gustave Eiffel visited the place, he would have a heart attack,” an unnamed tower manager told Marianne.
The Eiffel Tower, nicknamed “La dame de fer” (French for “Iron Lady”), was constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the centerpiece of the 1889 World’s Fair. Engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower, only expected the wrought-iron lattice structure to only last two decades.
The tower still stands more than 130 years later, thanks to routine maintenance and fresh paint. But now, the 7,300-ton structure with more than 2.5m rivets is in poor condition and needs complete restoration.
A 60 million euro project to repaint the tower is underway ahead of the 2024 Olympics. This will be the 20th time the structure has been repainted since its inception.
“Paint is the essential ingredient for protecting a metallic structure and the care with which this is done is the only guarantee of its longevity,” Eiffel wrote at the time. “The most important thing is to prevent the start of rust.”
Experts told Marianne that the current work is only a cosmetic facelift — adding that some metal pieces need to be replaced.
A 2014 report by paint experts Expiris found the tower had cracks and rusting problems.
“Even if the general state of the anti-corrosion protection seems good to the eye, this can be misleading,” Expiris said a the time. “It is not feasible to envisage the application of a new coat of paint that can only increase the risk of a total lack of adhesion.”
Bernard Giovannoni, the head of Expiris, told Marianne: “I’ve worked on the tower for several years now. In 2014 I considered there was an extreme urgency to deal with the corrosion.”
Another report in 2016 found the tower had 884 faults, including 68 that could affect “the durability” of the structure.