Paris and Shanghai twin towers

22nd January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 21 (AFP) - One of the most instantly recognizable man-made towers on the planet has formed a unique partnership with one of its Eastern cousins to highlight their architectural brilliance and the gastronomic delights of France and China.

PARIS, Jan 21 (AFP) - One of the most instantly recognizable man-made towers on the planet has formed a unique partnership with one of its Eastern cousins to highlight their architectural brilliance and the gastronomic delights of France and China.

From next week the Eiffel Tower, one of the great symbols of France, will be lavished with oriental decorations and lanterns and will host a series of Chinese cultural events.

From October, meanwhile, a similar selection of exhibitions, including one on French gastronomy, will take place in the Oriental Pearl Tower which dominates the skyline in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai.

The partnership agreement between the two buildings is the first ever signed by the company that runs the Eiffel Tower, the SNTE, and was finalized in Shanghai last December.

Visitors to the Parisian landmark, designed by Gustav Eiffel and inaugurated in 1889 and which stands 324 metres (1062 feet) high, will from January 28 be able to examine its Chinese equivalent at specially organised photography exhibition.

The celebrated "Altitude 95" restaurant at the first stage will temporarily be taken over by some of Shanghai's most celebrated chefs, while experts in the formal art of the Chinese tea ceremony will also be on hand every day.

In October the Oriental Pearl, designed by Jia Huan Cheng, will repay the compliment by hosting a string of similar events, including a homage to France's celebrated gastronomy.

The Eiffel Tower will be bathed in red light after dark in honour of the Chinese New Year.

The two towers do have one or two things in common, according to the SNTE: both are telecommunications towers and both attract millions of tourists. Each has a highly unusual structure with three stages and restaurants to enjoy the view.

But aside from that the two are like chalk and cheese. The Oriental Pearl is a lot younger, having been inaugurated nearly 100 years after the Parisian icon in 1995.

And its architecture could hardly be more different: a series of columns punctuated by three enormous spheres, the entire structure reaching 468 metres into the sky.

The Eiffel Tower, on the other hand, has been compared to a bar stool with a tower on top, all steel ribbing, girders, bolts and rivets.

The Shanghai tower also has a way to go before it acquires the kind of kudos enjoyed by the Eiffel Tower: while 3 million people visit the Oriental Pearl each year, its Parisian cousin welcomes double that number, the lion's share of them foreign tourists.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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