The Eiffel Tower was closed for months on end during the Covid lockdowns

Paris (AFP) - The Eiffel Tower in Paris welcomed 6.3 million visitors last year, its management company said Friday, more than came in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year’s visitor numbers – up eight percent year-on-year – were juiced by events to honour its designer Gustave Eiffel 100 years after his death, the SETE operating company said in a statement.

The tower also added new offerings such as guided tours and celebrity chef-cooked meals in its luxury restaurant.

France’s “Iron Lady” boasted up to seven million visits in 2014 and 6.2 million five years later.

It was closed during the country’s first pandemic lockdown from March to June 2020 and again from October 2020 to July 2021.

The largest contingent of Eiffel Tower visitors, at 18.9 percent of the total, came from France, followed by North Americans at 18 percent – with 13.2 percent coming from the United States alone.

Non-French Europeans accounted for 44 percent, with the largest numbers coming from Germany, Britain and Spain.

And last year’s Rugby World Cup brought increased visits from countries in Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand.

Paris’s major museums, another of the French capital’s top attractions, also returned to pre-Covid visitor numbers or even set new records last year.