With “Welcome” messages in multiple languages, the Eiffel Tower greeted tourists Friday for the first time in nearly nine months, reopening to the public even as France introduces new virus rules aimed at taming the fast-spreading delta variant.

Smiles were broad and emotions palpable as the first masked visitors mounted the elevators heading to the top of the Paris Monument.

“It’s such a lovely place and wonderful people…and now the wonderful Tour Eiffel,” German tourist Ila Mires said, using the French name for the tower. She came with her 19-year-old daughter before the young woman leaves for studies in Amsterdam. Seeing the tower on their last day together in Paris “is such a gift to mother and daughter,” Mires said.

The “Iron Lady” of Paris was ordered shut in October as France battled its second virus surge of the pandemic, and remained shut for renovations even after other French tourist draws reopened last month.

The tower’s reopening came four days after President Emmanuel Macron announced new measures aimed at warding off a fourth surge, including mandatory vaccinations for health workers and mandatory Covid-19 passes to enter restaurants and tourist and other venues.

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