Dreams up in smoke: French council worker who spent eight years assembling 700,000 matchsticks into 23ft Eiffel Tower has Guinness World Record entry rejected… for using the wrong type of matches

A Frenchman who spent eight years building a 23ft tall replica of the Eiffel Tower out of matchsticks has seen his dreams go up in smoke – because he used a brand that cannot be bought in shops.

Richard Plaud claims he found out his dreams were ignited when Guinness World Records delivered their verdict without even visiting the replica.

And the governing body say the 706,900 sticks used by the 47-year-old were not commercially available and had been altered beyond recognition from their original shape – meaning they could not take his attempt.

Council worker Mr Plaud fumed at the decision – shocked that his patriotic project had met its match against record-breaking bureaucracy.

“It’s disappointing, frustrating, incomprehensible and not very fair play,” he told The Times.

Richard Plaud claims he only found out his dreams had ignited when Guinness World Records delivered their verdict without even visiting the replica

Richard Plaud claims he only found out his dreams had ignited when Guinness World Records delivered their verdict without even visiting the replica

And the governing body say the 706,900 sticks used by the 47-year-old were not commercially available and had been altered beyond recognition from their original shape - meaning they could not take his attempt.

And the governing body say the 706,900 sticks used by the 47-year-old were not commercially available and had been altered beyond recognition from their original shape – meaning they could not take his attempt.

Council worker Mr Plaud raged at the decision - horrified that his patriotic project had met its match against record-breaking bureaucracy

Council worker Mr Plaud raged at the decision – horrified that his patriotic project had met its match against record-breaking bureaucracy

Mr Plaud created 402 panels from the matches, which he then built into the large structure

Mr Plaud created 402 panels from the matches, which he then built into the large structure

He had hoped that Guinness would take pity on him, but he was devastated when they refused. “It’s part of the dream that got away,” he told the broadsheet.

In an angry post on social media, he added: ‘Tell me how 706,900 sticks stuck one by one are not matches.

“My match tower is still standing and will be 7.19 meters for a long time.”

Mr Plaud, who works in the works of art and bridges department of the Charent-Maritime department council in south-west France, finally completed his project on December 27, the 100th anniversary of the death of the original tower’s engineer.

He created 402 panels from the matches, which he then built into the large structure.

The amazing tower would dwarf the current record for the tallest matchstick sculpture ever, held by Lebanese craftsman Toufic Daher, who created a 6.53 meter tall model of the Eiffel Tower in 2009.

Mr Plaud, who has loved making models since he was eight, originally bought matches in supermarkets to build the structure.

But his painstaking plans to win the Guinness World Record fell through when he decided the process was too ‘tricky’ – and instead persuaded French matchmaker Flam’Up to supply him with huge boxes of 190,000 matches full head.

Mr Plaud, who works in the works of art and bridges department of the Charent-Maritime department council in south-west France, finally completed his project on December 27, the 100th anniversary of the death of the original tower's (pictured) engineer

Mr Plaud, who works in the works of art and bridges department of the Charent-Maritime department council in south-west France, finally completed his project on December 27, the 100th anniversary of the death of the original tower’s (pictured) engineer

Mr Plaud, who has loved making models since he was eight, originally bought matches in supermarkets to build the structure

Mr Plaud, who has loved making models since he was eight, originally bought matches in supermarkets to build the structure

But his painstaking plans to win the Guinness World Record fell through when he decided the process was too 'useful'

But his painstaking plans to win the Guinness World Record fell through when he decided the process was too ‘hard’.

The model maker, who also cut off the heads of the matches before he was supplied with them in bulk, was told that the heads had to be scraped off for his attempt to be valid.

He encountered technical problems along the way and told Le Parisien that he had to make some ‘fairly complex calculations’ to make sure that the legs of the tower would support its weight.

He estimated that he has poured 4,200 hours of his time into the project since he started in December 2015.

Mr. Speaking to a local television station ahead of his record attempt, Plaud’s wife Sandra spoke of her hope that he would finally succeed after more than 20 years of dreaming.

“That way I’ll be able to get my living room back,” she laughed.