After a month wrapped in silvery-blue plastic as part of an art installation, Paris landmark the Arc de Triomphe was returning to its familiar form on Monday as work to dismantle the wrapping got underway.
The plan to encase the 19th century arch was originally conceived by the late Bulgarian-born artist Christo and carried out posthumously by a team that included his nephew at a cost of about 14 million euros ($16.3 million).
The installation was scheduled to run until Sunday, and on Monday morning, workers began the operation to take it down, rappelling from the top of the 50-metre (164-foot) tall monument.
By the end of the day, much of the plastic wrapping was gone, revealing the ornate stonework underneath.
Construction cranes were standing by, ready to continue the dismantling work on Tuesday. Visitors gathered at the foot of the arch to take pictures.
“It’s a bit sad,” said Paris resident Sarah Palleul, as she watched workers peel away the recyclable wrapping. “I think the installation was gone too soon.”
But she added: “We will be happy to see the Arc de Triomphe the way it was before.”
The installation was generally well-received, although some tourists expressed frustration that they had come all the way to Paris to see the monument in its classic form, only to find it was obscured behind a plastic shroud.