Cancel the proposal: No love for Eiffel Tower operators as strikes shut down symbol of Paris

Planet Business: Taylor Swift eats out in Sydney, UK administrators ‘re-energise’ the Body Shop and Donald Trump gets into the perfume game

Image of the week: Eiffel business

It was famously only ever meant to be a temporary installation to mark the 1889 World Fair but the Eiffel Tower soon became the symbol of Paris and, in 1964, was officially designated a “monument historique”. La Tour Eiffel is indeed so French that recently it has become the site of one of France’s greatest traditions: strikes.

On Monday, staff at the tower – one of the most visited tourist sites in the world – went on strike in protest against the way the monument has been managed financially, disappointing would-be visitors who stood outside the barriers as a large screen confirmed the closure. This followed an earlier strike last December and may well precede another one this summer.

Unions say that Paris City Hall, which owns 99 per cent of the company that oversees the tower, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, is “heading for disaster” thanks to an over-ambitious business model that includes unrealistic future visitor numbers and an underestimation of the cost of maintenance and repairs scheduled to take place between now and the Olympic Games.

At the time of writing, the strike had entered its fifth day, sending marriage engagements into absolute free fall.


In numbers: Body blow


Stores that the Body Shop has (or had) in its native UK, where the company has gone into administration. Up to half the UK stores will now close, with administrators FRP Advisory saying the cuts will “help re-energise the Body Shop’s iconic brand”.

€242 million

Sum that private equity group Aurelius paid near the end of 2023 to buy the Body Shop from Brazilian cosmetics giant Natura – alas, its performance over the festive period was “worse than worst-case assumptions”.


Size of the bank loan taken out by the late Anita Roddick to establish the Body Shop as one small outlet in Brighton in 1976. Roddick was a pioneer and the Body Shop a ground-breaking success, but its brand is no longer regarded as the trailblazer it once was.

Getting to know: Pellegrino 2000

“Scoop: Taylor Swift eats in restaurant – and we missed the story,” Guardian Australia amusingly confessed this week after the superstar of the moment dipped into a small Sydney trattoria called Pellegrino 2000 less than a minute’s walk from the media outlet’s office.

The title reported that Swift “managed to evade the eyes of the press for an evening of revelry at the restaurant” as she dined with Eras tour support act Sabrina Carpenter – though fans were naturally on hand to snap her as the pair departed, making the visit to the Italian her first public sighting since landing in Sydney.

The recent experience of New York eateries suggests that the Surry Hills-based Pellegrino 2000 won’t be shy of bookings for the foreseeable, even if two of the eight TripAdvisor users to leave reviews (before Swift’s patronage) were less than impressed.

The list: Donald Trump merch

Note to anyone reading this from an authoritarian, humanity-challenged United States of the future in which Donald Trump has been re-elected US president, this rundown of the Republican candidate’s merchandise is not meant as a tee-hee at the revenue-raising wheezes that proceeded this dystopian fate, nor is it a recommendation to buy. Anyway, here’s five things he’s selling.

1. Gold runners: The “Never Surrender Gold Hi-Tops” are “super-limited” edition trainers, or sneakers as they say across the Atlantic, that went for $399 (€368) and are now sold out.

2. Red runners: T-Red Wave low-tops were also available for $199. “The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product,” according to Trump’s sneaker website.

3. White runners: Not into Republican red? Why not mark Trump’s previous presidency with some Potus 45 runners? Ideal for legging it from insurrections.

4. Cologne: Trump’s Victory47 cologne comes in a manly pillar-shaped bottle with a lid in the shape of his own head. Again, the images shown are for illustration purposes only.

5. Perfume: Channel fall-of-Rome vibes with Victory47 perfume – or, you know, don’t. Available for pre-order, this $99 Eau de Trump comes in a slender hourglass bottle. Its lid is in the shape of a gold “T”, which stands for terrifying.

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