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Local Matters / Architecture & Landmarks

A piece of the Paris landscape goes under the hammer

Eiffel Tower-Paris

Ask anyone which monument most symbolizes Paris and the answer is almost certain to be the Eiffel Tower. Since its completion in 1889, the 1,063-foot ‘Iron Lady’ has dominated the skyline of the City of Light and drawn millions of visitors. Not everyone appreciated Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece at the time but now it’s one of the world’s best-loved sights.

On November 25, you could have bought part of the original spiral staircase at auction. But you would have had to put up 212,500 euros. This was almost 10 times the Artcurial auction house estimate of 20,000-30,000 euros. The last time a segment of the steps was sold in 2009, an American buyer paid a cool 550,000 euros.

The 19-step section once connected the second and third levels of the tower. The original staircase was replaced in 1983 for safety reasons and cut into 24 sections of varying lengths. Some of the pieces now repose in Paris museums while one remains on display at the Eiffel Tower. The others have been sold at auction.

The successful Portuguese bidder will need a palatial pad – and a spacious suitcase. Their purchase is 12 feet high and weighs 1,650 pounds.

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