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Last updated at 17:18 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Original Eiffel Tower steps for sale

Summary

14 December 2009

Some of the original steps from the Eiffel Tower and old street lamps from the Champs Elysees are being sold at auction later today. The sale is being organised to celebrate the 120th birthday of the Eiffel Tower.

Reporter:
Alasdair Sandford

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

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Report

The engraved windows from a railway station brasserie; a newspaper kiosk from the 'Belle Epoque' of the early 1900s, a metro-ticket punching machine, even a 19th century street urinal. These and hundreds of other relics from the French capital's past are going under the hammer. The idea for the auction, called 'Paris mon amour', came after a nearby town put up for sale an eight metre section of the Eiffel Tower's original spiral staircase. It's expected to fetch more than $100,000.

Other treasures, such as a piece of dried bread from the Franco-Prussian war, might fetch slightly less. But the worldwide demand for catalogues suggests that interest is high.

Alasdair Sandford, BBC News, Paris

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Vocabulary

engraved

words or pictures cut into a surface (of wood, stone, or here, glass)

brasserie

(a French word which is used in English) small restaurant or cafe which sells cheap, simple food

newspaper kiosk

small wooden building (usually on the pavement) from where someone sells newspapers

a metro ticket-punching machine

a machine that is used to check the validity of passengers' tickets on the underground transport system by, for example, making a hole in or stamping the date on the ticket

street urinal

public male toilet

relics

very old objects

are going under the hammer

will be auctioned (in an auction things are sold publicly and people make higher and higher offers of money until the thing is sold to the person who is willing to pay most)

put up

offered

spiral staircase

set of steps which goes round in a spiral (like a corkscrew), in a curved way

catalogues

books which show what objects will be offered in an upcoming auction

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