When you visit Paris today, you can expect to see the Eiffel Tower painted in shades of brown. And there’s no questioning that these blend perfectly into the Parisian skyline.

However, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the Eiffel Tower has seen no fewer than 18 repaints during its lifetime (which totals just under 120 years). France may be the city of high fashion but, it still makes mistakes. Like any fashionista, the Eiffel Tower has committed a fair few fashion faux-pas during its time.

Built in the late 19th Century, the Eiffel Tower was first painted in a ‘Venetian red’ which is a dark burgundy colour. Within a year the Iron Lady was repainted a deep brown shade. So yes, this is why all of those posters of the World Fair in Paris don’t depicting the Eiffel Tower as red…

The Eiffel Tower is a 324 m high lattice tower made of wrought iron on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It’s construction was started on January 28, 1887 and completed on March 15, 1889. Eiffel tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. The Tower gets a new paint job every 7 years.

Many Parisians hated the Eiffel Tower when it was first erected in 1889. Although it may seem impossible now, the sentiment is perhaps more believable when you consider that the monument was originally painted red.

In its 129 year history, the Eiffel Tower has had 19 different paint jobs. And when the monument undergoes its 20th painting later this year, the Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris will decide if its current subdued metal color will remain — or if something else will take its place.

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

According to Gustave Eiffel, the French civil engineer and architect, the original red color made it easier to protect the structure from rust. But since its construction, the tower has been painted ochre, yellow and several shades of brown. Once there was an ombre paint effect that faded as the tower reached the sky.

It will take 60 tons of paint to cover Paris’s Iron Lady in whatever color the ministry chooses, according to The Local. Painting will begin in October and is likely to last three years as part of a longer project. Over the next 15 years, the Eiffel Tower will undergo a $369-million (€300-million) renovation, including installation of a bullet-proof glass wall around the monument.

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