Photo by AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Photo by Shutterstock
The top floor of the Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors on July 15 after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After temporarily shuttering in early March amid France’s coronavirus lockdown, many of the most famous sites in Paris are welcoming back visitors this summer—albeit with new safety measures.
Paris’s most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower, reopened its top floor observation deck on Wednesday, July 15. This follows the partial reopening of the iron-lattice tower’s first two floors on June 25, after a 104-day closure—the longest since World War II—due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, of course, for those who visit, new social-distancing and hygiene protocols are being enforced.
All visitors over 11 years old must wear a face mask during their time at the landmark, according to the Eiffel Tower’s website. In addition to the top floor observation deck reopening, the elevators that whisk visitors up and down the 1,063-foot-tall structure’s three floors are also working again. A maximum of 250 people will be allowed at the top floor at a time to enjoy the panoramic views of Paris. Travelers are also advised to book tickets for their visit online in advance.
Another hugely popular Paris attraction, the Louvre museum, reopened on July 6. The world’s most-visited museum—which attracted 14.1 million visitors last year—is limiting the number of visitors allowed in at a time. Per the Louvre’s new rules, the museum now has a required online reservation system for ticketed time slots and says that additional signage will be in place around the Paris institution to guide visitors and avoid overcrowding. All visitors and staff members over the age of 11 are expected to wear protective masks and maintain proper social distancing on the premises.
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Additionally, about 30 percent of the museum’s rooms remain closed to visitors, but “of course the Mona Lisa will be open,” said Andre Sacristin, a labor representative who has been involved in the Louvre’s reopening plans, according to the Associated Press. The Louvre’s summer 2020 map indicates rooms such as the renovated Galerie d’Apollon and the Salle des États (where the Mona Lisa is displayed) are open, but the museum’s second level remains closed. Overall, visiting “will not at all be as it was before,” Sacristin added. “That’s impossible.”
Other famed cultural sites around Paris have started to resume operations, too. On Sunday, May 31, the Tuileries Gardens, located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, reopened to the public, although gatherings are still restricted to groups of up to 10 people. The Versailles Palace welcomed visitors back to its 17th-century châteaus and gardens on June 6, and art lovers could again explore the Musée d’Orsay’s vast collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings from June 23.
France declared that nationwide museums, monuments, restaurants, bars, and cafés could begin to resume operations starting June 2 following steps to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
This article originally appeared on May 29, 2020; it was updated on July 15, 2020, to include current information. Associated Press contributed reporting.
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