News,  Paris

Summer 2022 News Updates

Summer is in full swing!  Unfortunately, it’s been a fairly hot, miserable, and in a lot of places a dangerous summer. I hope you are staying cool and safe! Perhaps a little Paris news will help or at least distract?

Stay cool at the Canal St. Martin

As mentioned in this week’s newsletter (sign up here), I’ve decided to channel my inner French girl and go en vacances for August.  I can sweat in peace, finish a few books, and hopefully get ahead on some of my writing. 

But before I fully commit to vacation mode, I wanted to share some of the latest news from Paris!

Is The Eiffel Tower Falling Apart?

At the end of June, the French news magazine Marianne published an article outlining all of the structural issues ($, in French) that the tower faces currently. 

Basically, they state that the Iron Lady is not being cared for properly. She is only being given cosmetic treatments and that deep, long standing structural issues are not being addressed.  And that the SETE (Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel—the organization that runs the tower) have decided to not address the structural issues at this time. Basically because doing so would require them to close the tower for an extended period. 

They took a €52 million hit in 2020 alone from the pandemic, so they know exactly the type of financial impact such a closure would have. There is also the added pressure of the 2024 Olympics. Closing the most famous symbol of Paris because of poor maintenance is not a good look!    

Up she goes!

La Vérité?

Needless to say, this was big news and soon all of the media outlets were discussing it.  The Guardian has the best English language article I could find. But most of the press, in any language, just regurgitated the Marianne article.  However, Le Monde and Le Figaro with the AFP (2 articles, in French) did also report on the response from SETE. 

The organization acknowledged the previous reports of structural issues but downplayed them. They reiterated that there are only 884 pieces with “defects” out of over 18,000 pieces of iron in the tower.  And “only” 68 related to structural integrity. So far, per Le Monde ($, in French), only 6 have been fixed. 

SETE’s response was back on July 4 and I wasn’t able to find any newer updates.  SETE’s site is completely silent on the matter. 

Who should we believe? It seems that there are some known concerns with the Eiffel Tower’s ongoing structural integrity. And 68 structural defects is not something to dismiss lightly! But, is Marianne exaggerating the danger? Is SETE underplaying it? The truth is perhaps in the middle? 

For now, I don’t think the tower is in imminent danger or there would have been obvious mitigation efforts or closures. But I do hope that this prompts an in-depth investigation into both the integrity of the tower and of SETE! 

We must ask ourselves, What Would Gustave Do? 

The Show Must Go On

Despite these concerns, the tower celebrated Bastille Day in style!  Check it out: 

Such a cool angle for that video!  Have you ever had the opportunity to celebrate Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower?  Let us know below!

For the full show, from a little bit further away, check out The Earful Tower’s footage from a rooftop in the 7th!

The Traveling Sarcophagi

Alas, we are still waiting for the forensic examination of the Notre Dame Sarcophagus to begin.  What do we know so far?

♦ It was moved to the forensic department at CHU (University Hospital) de Toulouse back in April.

♦ But it isn’t alone!  A second lead sarcophagus was also found in the 11th hour of the excavations. This one didn’t make much of a media splash. Perhaps because it was found where it was expected, inside a vault? It is much less dramatic than randomly finding a high-end sarcophagus tossed in with the heating vents!

♦ Both sarcophagi are just chilling in sunny Toulouse, awaiting their forensic testing.  According to Toulouse newspaper La Depeche, we will now be waiting until September for the process to begin.

The paper didn’t give a reason, but I suspect it is due to the summer vacation rituals in France. 

So, we have a bit longer to wait until we know more about these mystery people.  Do you think that when the second sarcophagus showed up in Toulouse, the person in the first one was like, “oh, you again”? 😉 

Stay tuned for hopefully more info this fall!

The OG Sarcophagus, pre-road trip.
© Denis Gliksman, INRAP.

The Visa Waiver Program (ETIAS) Update

For a long time now, we’ve been hearing that the Schengen Zone will be requiring Americans, Canadians, and many others who do not need a visitor’s visa to complete a visa waiver before entering. The waiver program is called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System or ETIAS. Originally, it was expected to go live in 2021. COVID of course got in the way of that plan.  It was then long held the program would go live at the end of 2022.  And then it was recently reported this was pushed back until May 2023. 

And then while I was researching this segment, and after finally finding the official ETIAS page, it has been pushed back until November 2023! This feels like a typical work project in the COVID era, doesn’t it?

Don’t forget or this will be your view of the Eiffel Tower!

Never Too Early

Even though it is a long way off, keep it in mind as you start to think about your 2023 plans.  Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • When it launches, you’ll need to apply online for the waiver. They are stating that this process should take about 10 minutes to complete.  You will need your passport and other travel documents to complete the application.
  • As of right now, the fee is expected to be €7. 
  • For most people, you will receive the waiver within a few minutes.  But if there is a snag with your application, it could take up to 96 hours or longer. 
  • They are mainly looking to prevent known criminals from entering. They are not openly stating what the threshold is for denial. I assume minor infractions should be ok but may require manual review.  So if you partied a little too hard in Paris that one time, your application may take longer. 
  • The waiver is tied to your passport number, so you won’t need an additional document.  However, I strongly recommend keeping a copy of any confirmations or other documentation with you just in case!
  • The waiver, once approved, is good for 3 years or until the expiration of your passport, whichever is sooner.  If your passport expires within that 3 year period, you’ll have to get a new waiver for the new passport. 
  • The waiver can be revoked by the powers that be.  So be smart out there. 

For the latest official news on the program, check out the ETIAS home page. I’ll also keep an eye this. You don’t want to be denied the ability to travel to France over a simple oversight! 

European Heritage Days

The 39th annual European Heritage Days, or les Journées du Patrimoine, will be held this year September 17 and 18, 2022The official website is currently a little lean on the information for this year.  SortirAParis has been filling in some data for 2022 and you can see the legacy information from the 2021 celebration to get an idea of what to plan for. 

This is an event that has been on my bucket list for ages! I feel like I would need to clone myself to see everything that I want to see. Which location would be your priority? I think I would hit the hôtel particuliers that are only open for this event first. The museums can be seen at other times (and may be free again for Nuit Blanche in October). 

Au Revoir Until September

That does it for the summer history and news updates! Do you have any August vacation plans? How do you feel about the Eiffel Tower’s woes? Are you excited to discover who is in the sarcophagi? Let me know below!

À bientôt and stay safe out there!

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Image Credits

Canal St. Martin: “The lovely Canal Saint-Martin, Paris” Photo by Vince Duque on Unsplash. Cropped.
EIffel Tower Construction gif: Jaillissement Tour Eiffel.gif. Wikimedia Commons. Created by Bernard de Go Mars using images by Théophile Féau under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Gustave Eiffel on the Tower: Gustave Eiffel posant au sommet de la tour. Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by Kuxu76. Public Domain. Original held at BnF. Cropped by article author.
Sarcophagus of Notre Dame: Lead sarcophagus in a masonry tank discovered under the floor of the transept crossing of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in 2022. Document Author: © Denis Gliksman, INRAP. Archaeologist in charge of operations: Christophe Besnier. Year of creation: 2022. Ref. icon library: 12587.
Passports with Eiffel Tower: “Gathering Dust. ” Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash. Dropped by article author.
Les Journées du Patrimoine Art: Les Journées du Patrimoine Instagram Press Collection,

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