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Eiffel Tower in Paris Needed a Blowtorch to Melt the Ice as Snow Blankets Parts of Europe

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Snow blanketed the French capital and froze the Eiffel Tower.

Workers at the Eiffel Tower used a blowtorch to melt the ice collecting on its surfaces and snow was blocking roads and halting trains and school buses Wednesday across northern France.

Amid a European cold snap, areas in Normandy and Brittany unused to such icy conditions were closing highways for lack of snow-clearing equipment. In parts of the Paris region, local authorities halted school buses and urged parents to keep their children at home.

Snow blanketed the French capital and froze the Eiffel Tower.

“When negative temperatures return, my floors get partially covered with ice! To get rid of it, we need to use a blowtorch because ice-control salt is too corrosive for the metal,” tweeted the monument, which has been closed to the public for months because of coronavirus restrictions.

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Parts of central and northern Europe as well as Britain have been gripped by a cold weather front since the weekend. Heavy snowfall tangled traffic and stranded drivers in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Some took advantage of the frosty climes. Cross-country skiers glided across the Charles Bridge in Prague, children sledded in the usually snowless parks of Belgium’s capital of Brussels, and the deep winter freeze has reawakened the Dutch national obsession with skating on frozen canals.

In November last year, a segment of an original staircase from the Eiffel Tower was auctioned off by Artcurial on December 1, as part of its Parisian Art Deco and Design Sale.

This 2.6-meter segment comes from the historic spiral staircase built by Gustave Eiffel and his collaborators for the Universal Exhibition of 1889. A few years later, an elevator replaced the original staircase between the second and third floor of the iconic monument, which is why the staircase was dismantled. It was separated into 24 segments, two of which measure nine meters.

One of these long segments remains on the Tower’s first floor, while three others were redistributed to Paris’s Musée d’Orsay and Cité des sciences de la Villette and the Musée de l’Histoire du fer (Iron history museum) in Nancy (in the east of France). The 20 elements left were auctioned off in December 1983, scattering this heritage between cultural institutions and private collections worldwide. Every now and then some resurface on the auction market.

(With inputs from AP)

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first published:February 10, 2021, 14:58 IST