Eiffel Tower reopens, ending longest-ever closure prompted by pandemic

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Picture of people walking with Eiffel tower in background

A man and a woman walk on the Bir-Hakeim bridge in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on April 2, 2020 on the seventeenth day of a strict lockdown in France to stop the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — Marking another milestone in France’s recovery from coronavirus lockdown, the Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday after its longest-ever closure in peace time: 104 days.

Tourists who are trickling back to Paris were delighted to find the landmark open when some other attractions in the French capital remain closed. The Louvre Museum isn’t reopening until July 6.

“It’s very special, very special because it’s only the Paris people,” said Annelies Bouwhuis, a 43-year-old visitor from the Netherlands. “We’ve seen a lot Paris people enjoying their city, enjoying their parks without all the tourists.”

Lifts that usually whisk visitors up the 324-meter (1,063-feet) tall wrought-iron Eiffel Tower remain closed, so for now people have to take the stairs.

Of the tower’s three decks, only the first two reopened. Those who made the climb Thursday were rewarded with far-away views and a light breeze in scorching summer weather.

“I booked the first slot because afterward it will be very hot,” said Sabine Peaufils, a 57-year-old Parisian. “This is a real pleasure.”

The tower lost 27 million euros ($30 million) from the lockdown that started in March, according to its director general, Patrick Branco Ruivo.

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