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Eiffel Tower gets dizzying glass floor

By Barry Neild, CNN
updated 12:55 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Visitors are lining up -- and lying down -- to experience the Eiffel Tower's new glass floor. Visitors are lining up -- and lying down -- to experience the Eiffel Tower's new glass floor.
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Don't look down
Monument's makeover
New views
Vertigo-inducing attraction
'Attractive city'
Eiffel anniversary
Chicago Skydeck
Grand Canyon Skywalk
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New glass floor offers views of the 57-meter drop from the Tower's first floor
  • Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says glass floor shows the city can still amaze its visitors
  • First floor's $38.4 million renovation also includes shops, restaurants and museum

(CNN) -- It's known as the City of Light, but Paris has taken a dizzying step toward being the City of Fright after the Eiffel Tower unveiled a new glass floor.

Offering dramatic views of the 57-meter (187-foot) drop from the 125-year-old landmark's first level, the transparent walkway has proved a hit with visitors lining up -- and lying down -- to take selfies.

Paris's mayor, Anne Hidalgo, opened the new attraction, saying it would help bring back some magic to a city that's been criticized for disappointing foreign visitors.

"I hear that Paris has lost its shine and attractiveness," she said. "It's not true."

The new floor, she added, proved Parisians could reinvent their city "without ruining our history."

It's the latest in a series of glass floored walkways to open in prominent destinations around the world. These include Chicago's Willis Tower Skydeck and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Paris admits it needs to be friendlier

Hidalgo celebrated the opening with a series of multilingual tweets inviting tourists to "enjoy this breathtakingly high experience."

The glass floor is part of a $38.4 million renovation of the tower's first floor that also includes shops, restaurants and a museum.

New outward-curving safety barriers also allow better views over the city.

Until now, the tower's somewhat gloomy "premier etage" has been one of its least-visited areas, with most of its 7 million annual visitors heading straight to higher levels.

The Eiffel Tower was built 125 years ago for the Universal Exposition, celebrating the centenary of the French Revolution. The famous Paris landmark, seen here in 2009, was also built as a tribute to French industry and science. The Eiffel Tower was built 125 years ago for the Universal Exposition, celebrating the centenary of the French Revolution. The famous Paris landmark, seen here in 2009, was also built as a tribute to French industry and science.
125 years of the Eiffel Tower
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Photos: 125 years of the Eiffel Tower Photos: 125 years of the Eiffel Tower

Built by Gustave Eiffel, the Tower was completed in 1889 as part of a "Universal Exposition" celebrating the centenary of the French Revolution.

At 312 meters, it was the tallest building in the world until New York's Chrysler building overtook it in 1930.

It was originally designed as a temporary attraction, but the decision was made to keep it as a permanent attraction -- and the Tower has never looked back.

Thanks to the glass floor though, it can now look down.

Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris; +33 892 70 12 39

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