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Number of Eiffel Tower visitors falls in wake of Paris attacks

© Pierre René-Worms, France Médias Monde | The Eiffel Tower is lit up in the Tricolour blue, white and red, a symbol of a country still standing strong after the Paris attacks of November 13

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-01-20

The Iron Lady of Paris was on course for an all-time record last year, before the November 13 terrorist attacks caused a dip in the number of visitors, the landmark’s operator said Tuesday.

The world-famous tower received 6.91 million visitors in 2015, down from 7.1 million the previous year, the Société d’Exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) said in a statement.

"Before the tragic events hit the capital in November, visits were up one percent," it added.

Gunmen and suicide bombers acting in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group attacked a number of popular night spots in the French capital on November 13, leaving 130 dead.

The Eiffel Tower closed for two days following the attack, and then partially opened over the next two days.

Like several other French landmarks, it was lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag in solidarity with the victims of the deadly shootings, and in defiance of the terror threat.

But managers said visitors "hesitated" to climb up the venerable monument for another two weeks after the attack, before the normal flow gradually resumed.

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle. Standing 324 metres high, its wrought iron structure is covered with 20,000 special lightbulbs that sparkle at night, to the delight of Parisians and tourists alike.

According to SETE some 80 percent of visitors are foreigners, mainly from the United States and Canada, followed by those from Britain, Spain and Italy.

Another business casualty of the November attacks is the famous Paris restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, which has decided to close four nights a week after seeing receipts plunge 20 percent.

The restaurant by Les Halles – site of the former legendary food market nicknamed the "stomach of Paris" – had been open around the clock since 1947.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2016-01-19

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