Eiffel Tower closed as snow grinds life to a halt in France

People walk on the snow-covered Trocadero gardens near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as winter weather with snow and freezing temperatures arrive in France (Reuters Photo)

The Eiffel Tower is closed and authorities are telling drivers in the Paris region to stay home as snow and freezing rain have hit a swath of France ill-prepared for the wintry weather.

The company that manages France's most-visited monument said the 19th-century Eiffel Tower will be closed all day Friday and Saturday "to ensure the security of visitors."

Workers with hand shovels will carefully clear snow from the intricate ironwork and de-ice stairs and platforms. The company said in a statement they can't use salt because it could corrode the metal and damage the elevators.

Heavy snowfall earlier this week trapped hundreds of drivers in cars and caused the worst-ever traffic jams in the Paris region. More snow is forecast Friday and authorities are warning of dangerous conditions in about a quarter of the country.

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