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A night to remember at the Eiffel Tower

18 August 2023

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

It has been a big week for the Eiffel Tower. Two bomb hoaxes in one day, a rogue parachuter launching himself off its summit and, to top things off, two American tourists were discovered in the monument the morning after a heavy night. The pair had hopped a barrier before slumbering in an area normally off-limits to visitors. They ‘appear to have got stuck because of how drunk they were’, Paris prosecutors told the press. A night to remember then, or maybe not, depending on quite how pickled the pair were.

Rakewell wonders whether such a rencontre intime with the tower could have saved the marriage of another American, Erika Eiffel (née LaBrie, rather fittingly for a Francophile). Back in 2007, Erika got hitched to the monument in what has been described as a ‘commitment ceremony’. Alas, this was no happy ever after in the city of love. Last year, the prominent advocate for human-inanimate object relationships left the tower for a red fence (whether Eiffel will retain her married name is unclear). Divorce statistics being what they are, this comes as no surprise. And, as Erika was previously in a 20-year relationship with the Berlin Wall, she is clearly not on the fence about, well, fences.

However, one does wonder what a red fence has that the Eiffel Tower’s imposing perimeter fence (estimated cost €35m) doesn’t. Next year, the monument’s bronze-coloured coat of ‘Eiffel Tower Brown’ will be replaced by a gaudier gold to mark the 2024 Olympic Games in the city. Might refreshed paintwork lead to something of a rapprochement? Consider Rakewell on Team Tour Eiffel.

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