The Eiffel Tower could be transformed into the world's largest tree if a project to cover the iconic structure's 327-metre height with plants comes to fruition.
Engineering group Ginger, specialised in "green'' architecture, has spent two years working on the 72 million euro project that would see 600,000 plants attached to the tower, Le Figaro newspaper reported this week.
Architects and engineers have already built a prototype several metres tall to assess the effect of the additional 378 tonnes weight on the structure. The results of the tests are expected to be known in December.
Seedlings would then be cultivated until June 2012, which would be placed on the structure until January 2013. The plants would then grow until January 2014 and be left there until their removal in July 2016.
The plants would be placed in bags of soil hanging from hemp ropes attached to the tower's steel structure. Twelve tonnes of rubber piping would irrigate the vegetation.
The project would produce 84.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide but the plants would absorb 87.8 tonnes, rendering the plan "carbon negative''.
And the project will also not replace the electric lights that have adorned the Eiffel Tower since 2002, which instead will simply shine through the leaves with a greener hue, the paper said.