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Eiffel Tower to celebrate 300 millionth visitor since 1889 opening

Ludovic Marin, AFP file picture

The Eiffel Tower on Thursday will celebrate its 300 millionth visitor since it opened in 1889, with the usual entrance fee waved for the first 1,500 people to arrive on the first floor after climbing 328 stairs for a party starting at 6pm.

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"There will be drums on the courtyard of the Eiffel Tower. On the second floor the ambiance will be jazzier, and at the top of the tower it will be a romantic atmosphere with a flute trio," the tower's operator, SETE, said in a statement.

The entrance fee will be waived for the first 1,500 partiers to arrive for a "DJ set" on the first floor of the tower from 6-11pm – but they will have to climb the 328 stairs to get there.

Every half-hour starting from 7:30pm to midnight there will be a "specially created light show for the event", SETE said.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the world's most popular monuments, drawing more than 5.8 million visitors last year.

Eiffel Tower to be bulletproof

Paris officials announced in February that a new bulletproof glass enclosure would be built around the Paris landmark. The nearly 3-metre-tall enclosure will replace the landmark’s current security perimeter – made up of safety barricades – which was first put in place in 2012. It was reinforced last summer during the 2016 UEFA European football championship amid fears the tower would prove to be a major target for terrorists.

Paris-based architect Dietmar Feichtinger has been selected to build the new barrier. His firm, Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes, also designed the Simone de Beauvoir bridge connecting the capital’s eastern 12th and 13th arrondissements (districts) as well as the new entrance to the historic Mont Saint-Michel abbey in the northwest of France.

In pictures: The Eiffel Tower's bulletproof glass enclosure
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Construction of the enclosure is due to begin in the autumn and is expected to last around 10 months. It is part of a broader €300 million renovation plan to modernise the site over the next 15 years. The project also involves a complete reorganisation of foot traffic around the tower, a series of maintenance works and measures to improve the experience for visitors, including introducing faster queues.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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