Eiffel Tower Reopens, Stands Tall As Paris Symbol Of Peace

The Eiffel Tower, along with other notable attractions in Paris, has reopened to the public once again on Monday, November 16. The tower that normally stands tall in magnificent lights went dark in mourning on Friday as a result of the horror of the terrorist attacks that occurred on October 13. For the first time since the closure, the famed Paris landmark, the Louvre, and other sites have reopened.

Those enjoying a beautiful Parisian evening on Friday had no idea that attending a soccer game, a concert, or a dinner with friends would end with bloodshed and death. In a single moment, life in Paris and the rest of the world was shaken again by an act of terrorism. As reported by the New York Times, the attacks on the Paris attractions occurred in unison, planned out by three Islamic State teams. Approximately 130 people lost their lives and over 350 were injured. In response, French President François Hollande announced a national mourning period of three days.

As a result, the Eiffel Tower, normally open 365 days a year and filling the Paris nights with its soaring beauty, closed and stood dark. According to NBC News, the Paris landmarks have reopened on Monday after a nationwide minute of silence. The Louvre and other sites of historical interest opened at 1 p.m. as originally planned. In order to assure that enough security was on hand, the tower remained closed until later in the day. When it did reopen, the beautiful landmark welcomed visitors lit up in the French flag’s colors of red, white and blue.

The Eiffel Tower website is scrolling a banner that reads proudly “The Eiffel Tower reopened to the public at 4:20 p.m. Thank you for your understanding.”

In the wake of the attack, the French capital’s most famed landmark became a symbol of peace. French artist Jean Jullien felt a need to draw in reaction to the horror in his home country. The drawing of the tower sitting within a circle has become known as the “Peace for Paris” symbol.

Jullien tweeted his simple, yet strong, drawing of hope on November 13 with the title “Peace for Paris.”

The original Eiffel Tower drawing “Peace for Paris” tweet has over 44,000 likes and has now been retweeted around the world over 59,000 times. As Julien explained to Michel Martin of NPR, he drew his artwork out of a state of shock, sadness, and anger. The artist then shared his work online in reaction to the attacks. Although his intention was to relay a symbol of peace and hope, Julien had no idea that it would go viral around the globe.

“The idea was just for people to have a tool to communicate, and to respond and to share solidarity and peace. It seems that’s what most people got out of it. So in that sense, if it was useful for people to share and communicate their loss and need for peace, then that’s what it was meant to be.”

With the reopening of the Eiffel Tower and other venues, France remains under a nationwide state of emergency. Military troops continue to patrol the capital. As people around the world are seeking ways to come together, exhibits of culture and history can work as places to find solace and hope.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin issued a statement Sunday night.

“In tragic moments that pass over France, culture is more than ever the symbolic place of discovery for oneself and others.”

The Eifel Tower stands tall as a beacon of hope even when it stood in darkness. With the knowledge that the tower was closed, people still flocked to the site of the landmark on Sunday, as detailed by the Washington Post. People defied the authorities requests that they stay indoors, instead opting to seek vigils being held around Paris. Reports estimate that approximately 3,000 people came together Sunday night in the Notre Dame cathedral to remember the victims of the terrible attacks.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]