Friday, December 21, 2007


At the FT, Alexandre Svoboda tells Anna Brooke what it's like to make one's living as an electrician at the Eiffel Tower:
My favourite part of the job is working outside. If a bulb needs changing or there’s a short circuit on the structure, we get out our harnesses and climb out on to the girders. Nobody has ever had an accident because we are always very vigilant, but you do need a good head for heights and excellent balance. It is scary at first, but once you get used to it, it’s invigorating. In fact sometimes I feel like a superhero, watching Paris from above, waiting for something to happen.
When I talk to British people, they always ask me how many people it takes to change a light bulb on the tower.

I think it’s their sense of humour.

If a bulb has blown – and there are more than 20,000 of them – it first shows up on a centralised circuit-board, linked to a computer. Then we go up in twos – one to locate and change the bulb, the other to chase off the pigeons. No, I’m joking – the second person is there to make sure that everything is secure: the ropes, material and his workmate of course. There are 43 of us in total, so I suppose that you could say that it takes 43 people to change a light bulb. Each person has a specific role in keeping the tower in working order and lit up like a 324m-high Christmas tree, 365 days a year. It’s this teamwork that makes the Eiffel Tower such a special place to work.

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful little story, Jenny. Thanks for finding it.