The City of Lights is bracing for darker times.
In a Feb. 9 press conference, Paris’s deputy mayor Jean-François Martins unveiled a proposal to build a permanent bulletproof glass wall around the base of the Eiffel Tower to protect France’s most popular tourist attraction from terrorist attacks. The “aesthetic perimeter,” as Martins called it, will replace unsightly metal fences the city erected as preventive measures when it hosted the Euro football tournament last year.
“Sadly, the risk of terrorism hasn’t gone away,” said Martins.
Measuring 8 ft (2.4 m) high, the glass wall will protect the base of the tower as well as two adjacent ponds. Tourists can only access the areas after clearing security checkpoints, which are quickly becoming a permanent fixture in cultural attractions around the world.
The mayor’s office will seek design proposals through an official tender process. Like New York officials who commissioned sculptural bollards to protect downtown Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks, Paris is actively seeking counter-terrorism architecture and urban planning solutions that preserve its charm. “We have three aims: to improve the look, make access easier, and strengthen the protection of visitors and staff,” explained Martins. Le Parisien estimates the city will spend $22 million (link in French) for the security barriers. Read more