The Liberation of Paris: the Eiffel Tower Reinstates its Tricolored Flag
Saturday 24 August 2019
Modified the 21/08/20
Symbolizing Paris’ liberation from German occupation, the Eiffel Tower was adorned by the tricolored flag thanks to the heroic actions of a French firefighter platoon on August 25th, 1944.
At noon, while Paris was shaken with violent combat, the platoon of 6 firefighters led by Captain Lucien Sarniguet (with sergeants Henri Duriaux and Pierre Noël, corporal Charles Rouard, and firefighters Marcel Conversy and André Taillefer) began climbing the Tower. While intense fighting went on at the base of the Eiffel Tower, the platoon carried on its ascent of the monument, with a flag tucked under, dodging shots from German soldiers who had already spotted them.
After climbing the monument’s stairs, the platoon finally reached the top and replaced the Nazi flag with the French one that had been made from scraps of fabric.
Our visitors are always reminded of this exploit thanks to a plaque on the wall of the Eiffel Tower’s highest level platform! This was a personal and well-deserved victory for Captain Sarniguet, who had been ordered to take down the French flag in June of 1940.
In the days that followed, American troops installed transmission devices on the 3rd level of the Eiffel Tower to ensure communications between the ports around the English Channel, England itself and allied troops stationed around Paris. They stayed in place for one year.
In July of 1945, under the Eiffel Tower, the American army held an exhibition that featured the most impressive aircrafts (such as the Flying Fortress and various gliders) used in Europe during battle. Once liberated, the elevators were repaired and the Eiffel Tower was opened, allowing allied soldiers to climb to the top of the monument for free.
75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Paris
A commemorative ceremony of the French firefighters' feat was held under the Eiffel Tower on August 25th, 2019.
Two divisions of the Parisian Firefighter Department were in attendance. As a reenactment of the August 25th 1944 feats of this historical platoon, one division was suited up in uniform and driving a vehicle from the era (FM Delahaye). The tricolored flag was displayed between the first and second levels of the Eiffel Tower.