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Glass walls, not metal fencing, to surround Eiffel Tower
Bernard Gaudillere, president of the SETE, Eiffel Tower Exploitation Society poses in front of a new security bulletproof glass barrier under construction around the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Paris authorities have started replacing the metal security fencing around the Eiffel Tower with a more visually appealing glass wall. The company operating the monument said see-through panels are being set up instead of the fences at the north and south of the famed monument that were installed for the Euro 2016 soccer event. Each panel is 3 meters high, over 6 centimeters thick and weighs 1.5 ton. (AP Photo - Francois Mori)
By SYLVIE CORBET
From Associated Press
June 14, 2018 10:31 AM EST

PARIS (AP) — Goodbye metal fencing, hello glass walls: Paris authorities are building a permanent security belt around the Eiffel Tower, replacing the current fencing around it with more visually appealing glass walls.

The company operating France's most-visited monument says see-through panels are being set up at the north and south ends of the site. Each panel, made from over 6-centimeter (2.36-inch) thick armored glass, measures 3 meters (nearly 10 feet) high and weighs 1.5 tons.

In all, 450 glass panels will compose the two walls north and south of the monument.

Two graphic grids have been erected on the two other sides of the site and bollards against vehicle ramming attacks will be set up all around.

French soldiers and police will keep patrolling outside and inside the area, as they have done since the deadly November 2015 attacks in the French capital.

The glass walls being installed allow visitors to admire the views from the nearby Champ-de-Mars gardens to the other side of the Seine River that cuts through Paris.

The renovation, which will also embellish the gardens beneath the tower, is part of a 300 million euro ($350 million) project announced last year to modernize the 129-year-old tower that has become the most recognized landmark in Paris.

The security renovation should be completed by September.

"When you are on site, you see that the 3-meter high walls, compared to the scale of the monument, are absolutely not visible," said Jose Luis Fuentes, an architect at Dietmar Feichtinger Architects, which is in charge of the project. "It will really look as if the square (under the Eiffel Tower) was open."

Between 6 and 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower every year.

___

Catherine Gaschka in Paris contributed.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.