Every souvenir shop in Paris sells miniature Eiffel Towers, but one lucky bidder will soon be able to buy a piece of the real thing.
A section of the winding iron staircase that Gustave Eiffel climbed to inaugurate the monument in 1889 will be sold at the Hotel Drouot auction house on Monday.
In 1983, the 1,911-step staircase was removed to make room for new elevators and was cut into 24 pieces that were auctioned off to museums and collectors around the world.
The 4.5-meter piece for sale once helped link the monument's second and third levels and may be the last piece available to the public, said auctioneer Remi Ader. It is expected to sell for between euro20,000 and euro30,000 (US$29,000 and US$44,000), Ader said.
The 312-meter (1024-foot) Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris that celebrated the centennial of the French Revolution. About 6 million people visit the landmark every year.