Today the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and is a global icon. However, it wasn’t always that way. Erected in 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was under much criticism by France’s leading artists and intellectuals. They called the tower “useless” and “monstrous.”
The iron lattice tower is located on the Champ de Mars in Paris and today is the second tallest structure in Paris (second only to the Millau Viaduct) at 1,063 feet tall with a square base that measures 410 feet on a side. The tower is quite impressive from a distance and even more impressive the closer you get to it. Lit up at night, the Eiffel Tower is a sparkling wonder.
The tower has three levels for visitors. Restaurants are on the first and second levels and the third level observatory’s upper platform is 906 ft above the ground. We chose to walk up the stairs as far as was open to do so, but tickets can be purchased to reach the first two levels via lift as well. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The steps to the third and highest level were closed (and usually are to the public), so we took the lift up the rest of the way. The views of Paris were beautiful!
Think you’ve heard everything there is to know about The Eiffel Tower? You may be surprised.
1. Every night, every hour on the hour, the tower is covered in golden lights and will sparkles for five whole minutes. The light show is absolutely beautiful and the best place to see the light show is from is Place du Trocadéro. We enjoyed some wine, cheese and crackers under the sparkling Eiffel Tower and the night was magical.
2. The Eiffel Tower was built in only two years, two months and five days. Construction began in 1887 and it was officially completed on March 31, 1889.
3. The Eiffel tower, including the antenna at the top, is 1,063 feet. Without the antenna, it measures 984 feet.
4. When in the sun, the tower grows six inches and shrinks when it is cold, though you would not notice that with the naked eye. In the winter it is shrinks approximately four to eight inches.
5. The Eiffel Tower has not always been brown. in 1889, it was yellow and from 1954 to 1961 it was a brownish-red color. It has been painted 18 times and takes 60 tonnes of paint for the first coat.
6. The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tonnes.
7. Origionally, the Eiffel Tower was only designed to last twenty years. The fact that the tower could be used as a wireless telegraph transmitter saved it from the fate of the wrecking ball. Radio saved the Eiffel Tower from destruction.
8. The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the French Revolution and France’s industrial might.
9. The Eiffel Tower was once the world’s largest billboard. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Eiffel Tower acted as a billboard and three of its sides held advertisements for Citroën automobiles. There has not been another brand to attempt to use the Eiffel Tower for advertising.
10. It played a crucial role in the First World War. In 1914, during the Battle of the Marne, signals were sent out from the top of the tower that would direct the French troops to the front line.
11. It sees around seven million visitors each year, making it the most visited monument in the world that you have to pay for. For comparison, the Empire State Building brings around 3.5 million visitors each year.
12. The Eiffel Tower sways six to seven metres in the wind.
13. It was the world’s largest building for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York was complete.
14. The tower was to be pulled down in 1944. Hitler ordered the German military governor of France to tear it down, but he refused.
15. There were 18,000 pieces used to build the tower.
There are numerous replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world. Have you seen any of them?