Paris Will Install 8-Foot Bulletproof Glass Walls Around the Eiffel Tower

The plan emphasizes 'aesthetics, access, and security.'

People with umbrellas walk on the human rights plaza in front of the Eiffel tower during a rainy morning in Paris on February 7, 2017. Photo Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images.

The city of Paris announced on Thursday, February 9, that it will erect an eight-foot tall, bulletproof glass shield around the Eiffel Tower this year, a $21.4 million project. A statement from city hall states that three objectives are paramount to the effort: “aesthetics, access, and security.”

Set to be installed by the fall of 2017, the protective walls will be designed with the help of architects, and line the north and south of the area surrounding the tower. On the east and west sides, “ornate fencing” will replace temporary barriers that lined the tower during the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

According to AFP, deputy mayor of Paris, Jean-Francois Martins, said at a press conference that the walls will prevent storming of the attraction by individuals or vehicles, and that tourists will still be able to visit the tower’s base free of charge, but first will be subject to security checks.

The announcement comes from a city on edge, which has seen a number of terrorist attacks in recent years, beginning with the deadly series of attacks in 2015, first on Charlie Hedbo in January, then on the Bataclan Theater and other locations across the city in November. Most recently, soldiers in the Carousel du Louvre shopping center near the Louvre museum shot an assailant wielding a machete last week. AFP reports that 238 lives have been lost in these attacks.

Since 2015, the French military has deployed Opération Sentinelle, sending soldiers to protect the city’s most precious, and popular, sites. These efforts have not, however, been able to completely counteract fears from visitors, and the city has seen significant drops in tourist numbers in the past few years.

Martins said: “The terror threat remains high in Paris, and the most vulnerable sites, starting with the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures.”

Paris has also launched a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. In anticipation, the Eiffel Tower will undergo a $317 million refurbishment.

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