Paris - The Eiffel Tower is riddled with rust and in need of full repairs, but instead it is being given a cosmetic 60 million euro (over R1 billion) paint job ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
This is according to confidential reports cited by the French magazine Marianne. The wrought-iron 324-metre high tower, built by Gustave Eiffel in the late 19th century, is among the most visited tourist sites in the world, welcoming about six million visitors each year.
However, confidential reports by experts cited by Marianne suggest the monument is in a poor state and riddled with rust.
"It is simple. If Gustave Eiffel visited the place, he would have a heart attack," one unnamed manager at the tower told Marianne.
The company that oversees the tower, Societe d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), could not be immediately reached for comment.
The tower is currently undergoing a repaint costing 60 million euros in preparation for the 2024 Olympics, the 20th time the Tower has been repainted.
Some 30% of the tower was supposed to have been stripped and then have two new coats applied, but delays to the work caused by the Covid pandemic and the presence of lead in the old paint means only 5% will be treated, Marianne said.
SETE is reluctant to close the tower for a long time because of the tourist revenue that would be lost, it added.