Police officers stand in front of the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday. The tower and the area around the monument were evacuated after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the surrounding area were evacuated Tuesday evening after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat, police headquarters in the French capital said.
French media reported that a second tourist hub — the Saint-Michel subway station near Notre Dame Cathedral — had also been evacuated following a similar threat.
By midnight local time, people were walking around and riding bikes underneath France's most popular tourist spot again. The tower itself, which had 6.6 million visitors last year, usually closes at 11 p.m.
Media reported that the scare was a false alarm. Paris police did not immediately return calls seeking information.
A Paris police spokesman earlier said he had no information about problems at the Saint-Michel station, which was the target of a terrorist attack in 1995 that killed eight and injured scores of people.
Across town, about 2,000 people had been cleared from the 324-metre Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Seine River, and police had checked the structure for suspicious objects, a spokesman at police headquarters said. He declined to give his name, citing department policy.
Eiffel Tower security services made the decision to clear out tourists and workers following the threat, the spokesman said.
Despite the scare at the tower, tourists and curious Parisians continued to mill around the surrounding sidewalks, and traffic continued to circulate nearby. Several police trucks were posted under the tower, and officers stood guard.
Bomb scares are frequent in Paris, and the city has experienced terrorism firsthand. Algerian Islamic insurgents bombed the Saint-Michel station on July 25, 1995, killing eight people and injuring 150.
It was the first attack in a campaign of violence that terrorized Paris subway commuters for a time. Gas cooking canisters loaded with nails, sometimes hidden in garbage cans, were used in many of the bombings.