Visitors wearing protective face masks walk up the stairs as they visit the Eiffel Tower during its partial reopening
Visitors wearing protective face masks walk up the stairs as they visit the Eiffel Tower during its partial reopening
PIC: AFP

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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