The Eiffel Tower is set to be transformed into a giant green ‘jungle’ covered in 600,000 plants.
In a controversial plan which will transform the Paris skyline, an astonishing £65m (76m euros) will be spent on making it the most ‘ecologically correct’ tourist attraction in the world.
But many have already expressed outrage that the world famous ‘Iron Lady’ – which attracts seven million visitors a year – will no longer live up to the vision of its industrial age creators.
Of course, that wouldn’t be a first. When it was first erected in 1889, it was ridiculed as a ‘blot on the landscape’.
Ginger, an engineering company which specialises in ecological projects, will work with building firm Vinci, and the architect Claude Bucher on the scheme, which is due to be completed within a couple of years.
It will see the 1,063ft tower turn into a flagship of eco-tourism, introducing thousands of baskets of plants, as well as a state-of-the-art irrigation system made up of 12 tonnes of rubber tubing.
The scheme, details of which have been leaked by Le Figaro newspaper, has been approved by Paris’s Socialist city council, and also by SETE, the firm which runs the tower.
They estimate that it will give off 84.2 tonnes of CO2 and absorb 87.8 tonnes, making it ‘carbon positive’.
Funding for the new project will mainly come from sponsorship from French companies, although there are also likely to be government subsidies.
But today visitors queuing up to visit the global icon said they were ‘absolutely astonished’ at the plans, which are set to see the tower transformed for up to four years, until 2016.
‘The whole point of the Eiffel Tower is that it is an engineering masterpiece,’ said Anil Singh, who was visiting with his wife and two children from Delhi, India.
‘We have come to see the wrought iron – if we wanted to see a hanging garden we would go somewhere else.’
Laurent Martin, who has lived in Paris all his life, added: ‘It is typical of the ridiculous green schemes which are introduced everywhere nowadays.
‘This is an example of a city which is prepared to waste money at a time when nobody can afford it. It is quite scandalous.’