Paris: A bullet-proof glass wall is to be built around the base of the Eiffel Tower as part of a plan to provide extra protection against terrorist attacks at one of the world's most famous landmarks.
The wall will be 2.5 meters high and will cost around €20 million ($21 million). It will replace the metal barriers set up as a temporary measure around the iconic tower during the Euro football tournament last year, the Local France news portal reported on Thursday.
"The terror threat remains high in Paris and the most vulnerable sites, led by the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures," said Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins, who is in charge of tourism at the Paris City Hall. The glass wall will prevent individuals or vehicles storming the site, which is visited by six million people a year, he added. It will run along Quai Branly and Avenue Gustave-Eiffel -- and through the middle of the small parks on either side, according to the report.
Paris has long feared attacks at tourist sites and has grappled with the need to protect its visitors, not least after a failed terror attack in September at the Notre Dame cathedral and last week's machete attack near the Louvre museum without scaring them or ruining the beauty of its most famous attractions.
Martins said the city would replace the metal grills on the northern and southern sides with glass panels, which will allow Parisians and visitors to enjoy "a very pleasant view" of the monument from the Champs de Mars and the Pont d'Iena. The glass wall will mean that everyone will have to pass through security checks and not all Parisians are happy about the new wall, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
"What a shame! While I can understand the security aspect, this new plan is going to spoil the area a bit," she said. "The best way to enjoy the tower is to see it from underneath. It will be annoying if you can't get there easily, especially for people who have traveled from abroad."