Midwestern City of Light

Indianapolis transforms into Paris, France, as the Olympic Swimming Trials come to town

This month, Indianapolis is morphing into a Midwestern Paris, France. June 15-23, the city will hold the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials for Swimming, where 1,000 athletes will compete for only 52 spots on Team USA. If selected, the swimmers will compete in Paris for the Summer Olympics from July 26 to Aug. 11. And to make the most of this grand affair, Indianapolis turned itself into a City of Love.

Photo provided by Visit Indy

Anchoring the transformation is stunning replica of the Eiffel Tower. While smaller than the actual monument in Paris, this free-standing tower weighs 24,000 pounds. The tower was erected June 10 and stands on Georgia Street and South Capitol Avenue.

The Latinas Welding Guild, an Indianapolis nonprofit providing industry certifications, constructed the mini-Eiffel Tower presented by AES Indiana. According to Consuelo Lockhart, executive director and founder of Latinas Welding Guild, the project pushed their creative and technical boundaries because it is so big, reaching a height of 66 feet.

“Compared to our usual projects, which often focus on smaller-scale functional art pieces and community installations, this Eiffel Tower project is on a completely different scale,” Lockhart says.

Photo of the TCU Amphitheatre provided by Visit Indy

On June 14, the Tower formally opened at the Starting Block Party, which commences the OneAmerica Financial Concert Series, a set of free evening concerts performed daily from 5:30-7 p.m.

To make the Tower even truer to its Paris original, it also will be lit at night.

“Day and night, our tower will symbolically connect Indianapolis and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials happening here to the Paris Olympics,” says Scott Davison, chairman, president, and CEO of OneAmerica Financial. “And, thanks to the tower’s generous sponsor – AES Indiana – our replica will twinkle at night, just like the original one in Paris. And those twinkles will be energy-efficient ones.”

The effect should be romantic. In fact, Lockhart has already received requests from 20 people asking if they can be wed under the structure, though it’s doubtful anyone will have the opportunity since the structure is open for a limited time and Lockhart is unsure where the Tower will end up post-trials.

Photo of Newfields provided by Visit Indy

In the meantime, potential life partners might wish to propose in front of it at least – and save themselves the hassle and expense of traveling to France.

In fact, apart from visiting the mini-Eiffel Tower, there are plenty of other City of Love-type activities to enjoy throughout the city. Visitors can take a photo of themselves in front of the iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana at Newfields, which also has ample Parisian style. Look no further than the French-style home and garden walks for evidence of this. For more romantic vibes, hitch a ride on a swan-shaped paddle boat down the city’s canal and then stop by Love Handle for a romantic brunch.

Visitors should make the most of Indy’s transformation into the City of Love while they can. The mini-Eiffel Tower closes June 23.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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