Face masks are compulsory for tourists and Parisians on their way up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower on Thursday. — AFP/VNA Photo
PARIS — Tourists and Parisians panted their way up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower Thursday as the iron monument reopened after its longest closure since World War II due to the coronavirus, with the lifts still closed as a health precaution.
The initial crowds of dozens of people braving blazing early summer heat were a far cry from the usual queues at the tower's base in the centre of the French capital.
But the moment of the reopening of the great edifice was a symbolic one as the country emerges from the virus lockdown.
The first visitors had to tackle the steep climb to the first or second level by the stairs, with elevators as well as the top observation deck off-limits because of social distancing concerns.
"I'm tearing up, but they're tears of joy. It's an emotional moment after these difficult months," said Therese, visiting from the southern French city of Perpignan.
"I'm going to climb, but slowly," said the 60-year-old, wearing the obligatory face mask. "And if I don't make it, it's no big deal!" — AFP