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Eiffel Tower

A major distinctive symbol of France

Address

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

GPS: 48.859355874491, 2.2955165031353

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With some 7 million visitors per year, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited paid monuments in France, along with the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles. Inseparable from the Parisian landscape, its wrought-iron lattice structure resembles an enormous construction set of pieces to be assembled. The building has a total weight of 10,100 tonnes, of which more than 70% is made up of the elegant steel structure. The Eiffel Tower project took place during the Second Industrial Revolution, which was marked by great technical innovations in the construction and production sectors.

The “Iron Lady” (“dame de fer” in French) was erected as part of the Exposition Universelle of 1889 to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution and to embody the genius of the nation. Its construction on the marshy and unstable terrain of the Champ de Mars in Paris was to reach the symbolic height of 1,000 feet (more than 300 metres), a dimension never before achieved in human history. In the end, the construction work lasted only two years, two months and five days in total, a technical achievement at the time. With a height of 324 metres, the Eiffel Tower officially became the world’s tallest monument (almost halving the height of the Washington Monument and Cologne Cathedral, which are “only” 169 and 157 metres high). Initially its existence was intended to be temporary, as the tower was to be dismantled at the end of a 20-year concession granted by the city of Paris. At the beginning, its style caused a stir: many Parisians and popular artists took offence, considering that its monumental appearance and hideous nature risked disfiguring the capital. Then, over the years, the Eiffel Tower became a political showcase and a symbol of French industrial know-how for the whole world.

The Eiffel Tower’s success in France was not immediate, so it escaped destruction at the beginning of the 20th century due to a lack of visitors. Gustave Eiffel, its creator, conducted meteorological and scientific experiments to find another use for the tower. Its function as a radio and television transmitter, tested from 1898 onwards for military and then civilian use, finally convinced the French authorities to extend the concession and keep the monument as it was. There are over 300 similar towers around the world with a close resemblance, but not an exact replica. The Eiffel Tower is today the undisputed symbol of Paris (the “City of Light”), the untouchable emblem of France and a romantic place par excellence.

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  • An icon of Paris and a figurehead for France internationally; a graceful and timeless building that remains at the cutting edge of technology
  • On the first floor, a transparent floor at a height of 58 metres that makes you dizzy and the addition of new oblique pavilions in red (in reference to the original colour of the tower)
  • Restaurants and shops with a breathtaking view of Paris on the second floor
  • The panoramic view for up to 80 kilometres from the third floor; the champagne bar; Gustave Eiffel’s small private flat at the top of the tower (its existence was long kept secret)
  • Its glittering and luminous beacon shines on the whole of the Parisian capital at nightfall
  • Sublime personalised illuminations for special events; the possibility of privatising part of the premises for a private event
  • 1,665 steps to climb for the most courageous to reach the second floor; four lifts (adapted to the structure, they are very sophisticated and innovative for their time)
  • Site is open 7 days a week and sometimes until midnight; the location of the monument in the 7th arrondissement; its ability to withstand winds of 180 km/h and temperature ranges of over 60 °C
  • The Champ de Mars park, a large public green space suitable for a picnic at the foot of the Eiffel Tower; fireworks and concerts during special events
  • Initially nicknamed “the 300-metre tower”, the Eiffel Tower was a monument unequalled in size until the construction of the Empire State Building in New York (inaugurated in 1931, this skyscraper dethroned the Parisian tower by 19 metres in height). The most fervent opponents of Gustave Eiffel’s project had fun calling the building “the solitary suppository” before having to acknowledge its added value to the city’s architecture. On the other hand, the Eiffel Tower inspired a great many artists in various fields (painting, literature, songs, films…) from the very first years of its existence.
  • It was not Gustave Eiffel (real name Gustave Bonickhausen) who designed the eponymous tower. Before winning the competition of the Exposition Universelle of 1889 as the engineer-builder of the Eiffel Tower, this talented man ran his own mechanical engineering company. He quickly made a name for himself thanks to the quality of his works (footbridges, bridges, frameworks, railway networks). As a visionary, he had the idea of buying the patent for the iron tower from two of his colleagues (the engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, members of the Eiffel Company), to enable him to retain exclusive rights. The Eiffel Tower project was modified by the architect Stephen Sauvestre at the request of Gustave Eiffel to change it into a slender monument of high aesthetic value.
  • The contractor Gustave Eiffel alone assumed responsibility for the construction site, which was considered totally innovative at the time (it should be noted that there were no accidents or casualties among the workers during the entire construction phase). According to the author Michel Lyonnet du Moutier, there were only two strikes on the site: one to obtain a wage increase, the other to demand sheepskins to face the harsh winter. The workers were on deck six days a week, working 12 hours a day in the summer and 9 hours a day in the low season. Eiffel relied on experience gained through building railway bridges to carry out this ambitious project. He reproduced the same construction and assembly techniques that he had already mastered to perfection (using a system of iron lattice girders). Financially, the engineer also took great risks as he was the first contributor to the cost of the work (the project paid for itself only a few months after the tower’s completion). After the first floor of the Eiffel Tower was completed (this was the most delicate phase), the monument was receiving its first paid visitors. The revenue was used to finance the rest of the operation and to reimburse the chief engineer while the workers rushed to complete the upper floors.
  • Gustave Eiffel is credited with hundreds of buildings around the world (bridges, viaducts, churches, railway stations, metal structures including the Statue of Liberty). These iron structures were custom-designed and assembled on site using a system of beams and rivets. The Eiffel Tower alone contains 18,000 beams and 2.5 million rivets (large nails), which have now been replaced by steel bolts.
  • On the four facades of the Parisian monument, the names of the greatest French researchers of the 18th and 19th centuries are inscribed. In 1921, the Eiffel Tower hosted France’s first radio station (“Radio Tour Eiffel” which broadcast until 1940). It was used to transmit the first radio and television waves.
  • Every seven years on average, the Eiffel Tower undergoes a major painting campaign to preserve it against rust and oxidation of its metal structure (the latest campaign at the end of 2018 is the 19th of its kind). The Eiffel Tower remains open to the public during maintenance operations.
  • Necessary maintenance and renovation work is carried out annually at the top of the Eiffel Tower and on the elevators leading from the 2nd floor to the summit, resulting in the closing of the 2nd floor to the public.
  • Foreign tourists account for 80% of visitors to the Eiffel Tower, compared to 20% for the French. There are 300 replicas of the monument around the world, varying in size.
  • In anticipation of the 2024 Summer Olympics to be held in Paris, the Eiffel Tower will benefit from major security and maintenance work. The cost of this project, which is being carried out by the “Société d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel” (a company 99% owned by the city of Paris), is being passed on to the price of tickets to the monument.
  • Save time by booking your ticket online at the official website (the wait at the ticket office positioned on the forecourt of the monument can be very long). Ticket prices differ depending on whether you wish to access the first, second or third floor by opting for the staircase or the lift.
  • Visiting the site early in the morning will save you from the endless stream of tourists.
  • Be particularly vigilant of the presence of pickpockets who regularly prowl the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
  • As part of the fight against terrorism, the forecourt of the Eiffel Tower is now surrounded by a wall of bulletproof glass. You have to pass through several checkpoints to access the monument.

Where to eat

  • Le Crépuscule
    (efficient creperie)
  • Arnaud Nicolas
    (French classics)
  • Madame Brasserie
    (array of delicacies)

Where to go

  • Musée du quai Branly
    (collections from all over the world)
  • Palais de Chaillot
    (amazing view of the Eiffel Tower)
  • Rue Cler
    (pedestrian and shopping street)

Where to stay

  • Hotel de Londres Eiffel
    (cosy hotel)
  • Cler Hotel
    (nestled in a market street)
  • Résidence Charles Floquet
    (exceptional design)

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