Red, pink and yellow: Why the Eiffel Tower may change colour for the 20th time

Since its construction in 1889, the Eiffel Tower has been given a fresh lick of paint 19 times, an impressive feat given it takes 60 tonnes of coating to freshen up the famous Parisian monument.

With a three-year project to give the tower, currently a murky brown, a facelift beginning in October, speculation is rife as to what colour the city’s authorities will choose for the latest revamp.

The Eiffel Tower was originally a deep red, chosen in an attempt to combat rust, before being re-painted ochre in 1892. The turn of the century saw its hue change to yellow, before the colour was deemed “too optimistic” for the era and a change was made to a yellow-brown from 1907. An effort was made to return it closer to its roots in 1968 when it was painted a red-brown.

As work begins on the tower this year, it has been suggested the colour may return to a bolder red.

“We will rediscover and revive these old colors, like we do when we restore an old painting,” a specialist from the Ministry of Culture and City told Le Parisien. “This will give some food for thought as to whether or not to add nuances to the current hue.”

While the ministry is yet to decide on a shade, the colours found on the layers beneath are sure to influence its decision.

Experts will look at the 19 coats deposited on the metal over the last 129 years. In much the same way that a painting is restored, it is hoped that the original colour will be possible to recreate. Although it is doubtful that it will be painted pink, as was reported last year.

10 more things you never knew about the Eiffel Tower

1. It is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes.

2. It is possible to climb to the top, but there are 1,665 steps. Most people take the lift.

3. During cold weather the tower shrinks by about six inches.

4. The lifts travel a combined distance of 103,000 km a year – two and a half times the circumference of the Earth.

5. Victor Lustig, a con artist, “sold” the tower for scrap metal on two separate occasions.

6. Its construction took two years, two months and five days.

7. During the German occupation, the tower’s lift cables were cut, and the tower closed to the public. Nazi soldiers then attempted to attach a swastika to the top, but it was so large it blew away and had to be replaced with a smaller one.

8. The names of 72 engineers, scientists and mathematicians are engraved on the side of the tower, each of whom contributed to its construction.

9. In 2008 a woman with an objects fetish married the Eiffel Tower, changing her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel in honour of her ‘partner’.

10. The Eiffel Tower and Margaret Thatcher share the same nickname – La Dame de Fer (“The Iron Lady”).