When visiting the Eiffel Tower, please set realistic expectations. Until the bulletproof anti-terror glass walls have been completely installed, don’t expect to find the Eiffel Tower looking as beautiful as she does in your friends’ social media posts.

view from Quai Branly

When I visited La Tour Eiffel in May 2018, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Around the base, there was a sheet metal fence with graffiti all over it. There were streams of orange Caution tape and signs redirecting pedestrians (piétons) all around the construction areas. It didn’t feel warm and welcoming.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the City of Lights has had to tighten security. In 1995, Paris was the target of a series of terror attacks near the Arc de Triomphe, in train and metro stations, and even at an open market. At the time, the most visible security measures were locked garbage cans on the streets and metro stations. I recall signs on them that said, “Fermé hermétiquement” (hermetically sealed).

View from Voie Georges Pompidou:

View from Pont d’Iena:

View from Champ de Mars:

View from Quai Branly:

I know it’s temporary: the unsightly fence will come down and a glass wall will be revealed. Paris is erecting the barrier not for looks, but for something more important: the peace of mind and safety of both residents and visitors alike. It’s for the best.

I’m inspired to return to see what the base of The Iron Lady will look like, glass walls and all!

Fortunately the wait is almost over as the glass walls are reportedly going to be unveiled sometime this month (September 2018).