Paris is one of the most iconic, if not most visually stunning cities in the
entire world. In fact, France and Paris specifically, constantly rank as one of
the top tourist destinations world wide. Over 78 million tourists visit France annually,
with 77 million of this mega tourist boom population visiting the capital
city of Paris.
One of the reasons for this interest in Paris is the Eiffel Tower which is a famous
global destination for tourists, and Paris welcomes 7 million visitors each year
to step inside and experience its legendary tower. The
rest of the populace is content to view the tower from a nearby park or from the
balconies of their hotel rooms, and it seems as if any place in Paris has a view
of this iconic landmark. Depicted as a romantic landmark which increasingly
makes Paris a popular destination for honeymooners, the tower seems to be in
view from almost any one of the many romantic locales situated within the city
limits of Paris.
As some tourists and almost all Parisians know, the Eiffel Tower was not
always a welcomed attraction in the City of Light. When the Eiffel Tower was first
built, Parisians hated the structure, and never wanted to see the project
completed. They commented that the design was, ironically, “less than Parisian,”
and not consistent with the stoic architecture that Paris was traditionally
That statement certainly is in contrast to the Eiffel Tower of today, which
is one of the foremost structures of “Parisian-influenced” designs. The tower,
which was built a century after the French Revolution or in 1889, is now the
epitome of French and Parisian culture. The building is one structure that is as
unique as it is architecturally influential.
15) Steps and Height
The Eiffel Tower stands at over 1,000 feet high, and visitors can reach
multiple floors by climbing the stairs or by taking one of three elevators. The
tower is more than three times the height of the Statue of Liberty.
In fact, the metal landmark was the tallest structure in the world until 1930
when the Chrysler Building was built. Since that time, many more buildings and
structures have been constructed that soar far higher than the tower. Yet, even
though the tower’s size has been dwarfed by comparison, the structure still
stands alone as an impressive if not magnificent Parisian landmark.
Step Number 669 of the Eiffel Tower:
A panoramic view of Paris can be seen from the Eiffel Tower’s second floor,
which visitors can reach by climbing a total of 704 stairs. From that spot,
tourists can take a glass elevator to the top, where they can enjoy a glass of
champagne in the Eiffel Tower’s champagne bar.
Because of the tower’s height, it is often cooler and windier at the top than
it is at the bottom. At each floor, visitors can experience the history and
charm of the structure.
Of course, that excursion pales by comparison to the daily jaunt that the
engineer who designed the structure took. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, used to take
a spiral staircase from the second floor all the way to the summit, which was
the base for his office at the time. Those stairs were taken down in 1983, and
now visitors can only reach the top by way of the aforementioned lift.
Modern Yellow Stairs of the Eiffel Tower:
Floors in the tower also feature restaurants, a presentation and event room,
and a cinema that displays films that review the tower’s history. Therefore,
visitors who take the steps to and from the second floor are afforded a
breathtaking view of Paris from various vantage points. Moreover, some of the
most iconic photos that have been taken inside the tower have originated from
this climb. Needless to say, ascending the tower is an experience that will stay
embedded in your memory for the rest of your life.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel is the man for whom the tower is named. Eiffel was a
participant in a competition where entrants had to submit architectural ideas
for a monumental landmark. The structure, which was proposed to commemorate the
100th anniversary of the French Revolution, was slated to be built for the 1889
Universal Exposition in Paris, also known as the World’s Fair of 1889.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel in 1893:
Eiffel was chosen from over 100 designers. The successful engineer also
notably designed such landmarks as the Statue of Liberty in New York as well as
the dome of the Nice Observatory. The Eiffel Tower marked the engineer’s last
major project. After he retired from the engineering field, Eiffel went on to
pursue innovations in the fields of meteorology and aerodynamics.
Early Blueprint of Eiffel Tower by Maurice Koechlin from
While Eiffel’s name is known around the world, hardly anybody has heard of
Maurice Koechlin. He was employed by Eiffel as a structural engineer. The tower
was, in fact, his original design. Koechlin, who was of Swiss origin, began
working for Eiffel in 1879. In the spring of 1884, Koechlin, along with his
colleague Emile Nouguier, proposed the concept of the Eiffel Tower design to his
In turn, Eiffel modified the men’s proposed concept, reconfiguring the
structure so it was more ornate and elaborate. Afterwards, he proposed
Koechlin’s idea as the plan design for the World’s Fair of 1889. Eiffel assumed
full credit as the named designer.
13) Two Types of “Strikes”
As is traditional of French workers when they are not satisfied with working
conditions, employees of the Eiffel Tower went on strike in June 2013,
preventing thousands of tourists from entering and ascending the tower during
their holiday. Employees complained of the never-ending construction work on the
tower, providing a long list of other complaints as well. The strike lasted two
days but, in the interim, thousands of tourists were denied access inside the
Historic French Strike of 1906 Called Pas-de-Calais:
Lightning has also been known to strike the tower over the years. In July
2013, Paris had one of its worst summer storms on record and the tower was
struck three times. Happily, no damage was done to the structure, and
photographers were able to capture breathtaking shots of the storm and lightning
Widespread Strikes of 2013 Affected Rail Transportation as
Despite the many dangers of constructing the tower, only one man lost his
life during the process. There is no verifiable document explaining the death,
but Parisian storytellers relate that the man was drinking one night after
finishing work for the day. He fell off of the tower after becoming inebriated.
Because the accident occurred after working hours, it is not technically cited
as a construction death, In turn then, the Eiffel Tower construction resulted in
no official fatalities.
Despite the fact that no construction deaths have been tallied, the structure
has been a selected site for suicides over the years. It is estimated that
hundreds of suicides have occurred from various parts of the tower since the
time of its completion.
Gustave Eiffel and Four Other People at the Summit of
Eiffel Tower in 1889:
For example, some of the victims have been able to evade security and jump
from the tower after it was closed to the public at night. Safety nets and
fences have been built in the past to try to stop or circumvent the attempts.
Nevertheless, people have always found a way to bypass these precautions.
Recent Eiffel Tower Jumper:
There has been a decrease in suicides over the years though, and an attempt
in 2012 was the first one recorded in over two years. At that time, a woman
attempted to jump from the tower’s summit. Fortunately, Parisian police were
able to avert the attempt by taking her from the site by way of a helicopter.
The Eiffel Tower has over 20,000 light bulbs that illuminate each evening,
shining their vivid luminance over the streets of Paris. The lights shimmer on the hour, every hour,
once it is dark for a total of five minutes. It’s a sight you definitely want to
capture if you’re ever in Paris at night. The current bulbs give off 120
kilowatts of power and have cost more than four and a half million Euros to
The bulbs use little energy though, as each bulb only powers up to 6 watts of
energy. Since each bulb is separate, they all sparkle individually. As a result,
bulbs are easy to identify and replace when they quit working.
Other light displays have also adorned the Eiffel Tower over the years. In
1985, electrician Pierre Bideau designed a 336 projector display at the tower.
The projectors shoot off a light that illuminates the entire tower from the
Eiffel Tower Light Show:
Light displays are replaced and reconfigured on the tower every few years. In
the meantime, designers continually attempt to make innovations and upgrades to
the lighting and electrical system.
Since imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery, you might say the
Eiffel Tower is distinguished in this respect. Dozens of tower replicas exist in
the world, all the way from Romania, to Las Vegas, and back to Mexico.
For example, just five years after the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889, the
Blackpool Tower was unveiled in England. Its designer, John Bickerstaffe, had
visited the World’s Fair in Paris and wanted to recreate the Eiffel Tower in his
home country. Therefore, the Blackpool Tower, standing 500 feet high, was opened
to the public in 1894.
In addition, both China and Japan have constructed replicas of the Eiffel
Tower that are built to scale. For example, the Tokyo Tower was built in 1958.
Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tsukuba can both be viewed from the structure’s summit. The
structure features two observation decks from which visitors can take in the
Paris also has its own replicas of world landmarks. For instance, you can see
a small representation of the Statue of Liberty on the Seine. The memorial is
set up so it is looking toward the city of New York, or across the Atlantic. A
second replica of the statue can also be found in the Jardin du Luxembourg in
Paris. Both the replicas symbolize the unity between the United States and
9) Parisian Hate
When the tower was first proposed and built, many Parisians hated it. Famous
French figures protested the construction of the tower, such as Alexandre Dumas
and Guy de Maupassant. Alexandre Dumas, who was the author of “The Three
Musketeers,” and de Maupassant, who was considered the “Father of the Modern
Short Story,” wrote an official letter of protest to the Minister of Public
Alexandre Dumas in 1855:
The writers declared that the Eiffel Tower was a “dishonor to Paris,” all
which incited fear in the locals that the tower would ruin and diminish the
city's appearance. Parisians called the tower an “eye sore,” among other
derogatory names, and rejected it as a symbol of the revolution.
Guy de Maupassant in 1888:
Over time, however, Parisians have come to recognize that the tower is not
the hated symbol that it was first held to be. With the massive outside interest
the tower draws each year, Parisians have grown to accept the tower for its
standing as a signature site and attraction.
The number of tourists visiting the tower continue to increase annually. When
the structure first opened, only a few hundred thousand travelers visited the
now-illustrious and famous landmark. While the all-metal tower may not the most
beautiful structure in the world, its classic, one-of-a-kind appearance makes it
beautiful to anyone who sees it in person for the first time.
8) Swaying in Wind
Because the tower is so high, it frequently sways when the wind picks up
speed. In fact, the sway can extend to almost six inches. At times, visitors can
even feel this extension while they are at the top.
High wind conditions also force officials to close the tower, at times, as
well. Even when these precautions are taken, the design of the structure is
meant to withstand some of the highest recorded wind speeds. As a result, there
is no inherent danger that the tower will topple over or break into by the force
of a high-speed breeze.
Plus, an engineer is always posted at the tower to keep track of wind
conditions and make sure that the structure is safe for the public to ascend.
Even so, it certainly would be an exhilarating experience to stand at the top of
the tower when it was swaying to and fro.
7) Engraved Names
Since Gustave Eiffel was an avid experimenter and loved science, he engraved
the names of 72 scientists on the side of the Eiffel Tower to commemorate their
work in the field. These engravings, which had been painted over, were restored
to their former glory in 1986 and 1987.
Some of the men commemorated include mathematicians, surgeons, engineers,
chemists, and geographers. The restored names are located on all four sides of
the tower at the first level of ascension.
Eiffel wanted the tower to be a place where scientists could experiment, so
he built a laboratory inside the structure, and allocated a space for the study
The lab was used extensively, and Eiffel, himself, conducted 5,000 trials in
the facility. He also experimented with a wind tunnel, which he had built at the
foot of the tall metal structure.
6) Risky Moves
The Eiffel Tower has been used by many adventure seekers, acrobats, and
risk-takers to perform amazing stunts. Some of these displays include cycling
down the side of the tower, scaling up to the summit, or bungee jumping from the
In 1923, a journalist rode a bicycle down the tower, starting at the first
level, and in 1964, to celebrate the tower’s 75th birthday, ten alpinists scaled
the tower during a publicly televised broadcast. The planned ascent and
celebration were interrupted, however, when a drunk and naked man appeared on
the second platform and beat the alpinists to the top. He was ultimately
arrested by police.
In 1987, famous bungee jumper and New Zealander, Alan John (“AJ”) Hackett,
bungee jumped from the Eiffel Tower and was arrested shortly afterwards. His
Eiffel Tower exhibition actually launched his career as he established the first
commercially successful bungee jumping business in New Zealand as a result.
Bungee Jumper AJ Hackett About to Jump From Eiffel Tower:
5) Painting Projects
The Eiffel Tower is repainted about every seven years. The repainting ensures
that the structure’s metal will continue to endure. The last time the tower was
painted, it cost over 5 million dollars U.S. Unleaded paint was used as a safety
measure for the public.
Since the time it was built, the tower has been repainted a total of 18
times. The structure has been featured in numerous colors, including yellow,
red, and bronze. During one repainting, sixty tons of paint were used to cover
every square inch of the tower, including every crevice and bolt of the iconic
structure. During the project, 25 painters risked their lives during the
painting assignment. Painters of this caliber naturally need to be unaffected by
heights and must be skilled at painting metal.
Painting the Eiffel Tower in 1910:
Fifty kilometers (or over 30 miles) of safety lines were deployed over a
surface area of 250,000 square meters. A repainting usually takes about a year
and a half to complete, and painters use up 1,500 brushes while doing the job.
Access to the structure is still open to the public when the project is taking
place. Indeed, it’s quite a task as all the painting has to be done manually, or
by the same method used when the tower was first built.,
Painters perform a three-step process, which includes cleaning and removing
eroded and old paint, cleaning the tower, and then applying the new coat of
paint. The task of painting also includes checking the structure’s condition.
So, if a nut or bolt needs replacement, it is done at that time.
Not only is the tower itself repainted every seven years, art painting
projects have been associated with the tower. The most notable of these projects
was a piece of art that was produced by, an indigenous Australian woman by the
name of Lena Nyadbi.
Additional Modern Lighting Renovations on the Eiffel Tower:
In fact, museum directors at the Musee du Quai Branley were so enthralled
with her work that they had a replica created on the rooftop of their museum.
The painting can only be seen from the Eiffel Tower, making it a very special
piece of indigenous artwork.
4) Radio and Television
When the tower was built, it was originally meant to be a temporary
structure, slated to be ripped down 20 years after its completion. If that had
been the case, the great monument of Paris that you know today would no longer
exist. The reason the structure was saved from demolition was because it was
deemed practical for the transmission of radio broadcasts.
The first transmission took place in 1910 and could be heard as far away as
Georgia and Canada during the day. Transmissions were sent out during the First
World War as well when the French intercepted enemy communications during the
period. Transmissions were also used to broadcast emergency announcements to
dispatch more troops during the war.
Modern Telecommunications Antenna at top of Eiffel Tower:
Radio Tour Eiffel became popular in the 1920s in Paris. Locals were
entertained by news and show business entertainment during the decade. In 1953,
the Eiffel Tower was able to broadcast The Queen of England’s coronation to all
of France on TV. Nowadays, the tower now has over 100 antennae and transmits
broadcasts for 41 TV stations and 32 radio stations from its location.
3) Precise Calculations
The Eiffel Tower was constructed with precise calculations. Over 2.5 million
rivets were used to build it. Each rivet required four men to assemble it. Each
piece of the tower was constructed by hand.
Workers used temporary wooden scaffoldings to place the rivets in their
specific spots. The tower is made up of over 18,000 metal parts, over 7,000 tons
of iron, and 60 tons of paint. Hundreds of workers were on duty at the
construction site, while another 150 worked at a nearby factory.
Eiffel Tower Equation:
Based on this mathematical model, by balancing the maximum torque created by
wind combined with the torque that is made by the tower's own mass, Gallant
derived an equation describing the shape of the tower:
Fifty engineers helped design and create the tower, and over 5,000 workshop
drawings were created to establish the design. As the construction took place in
under two years, the precision and skill that were used is quite remarkable. No
other construction project can match the efforts that were made in completing
this intricate metal structure and memorial.
2) Hitler’s Visit
In order to discourage the flying of a German or Nazi flag during the World
War II German occupation of Paris, the elevator cables to the top of the tower
were cut. If Hitler’s Nazi party wanted to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower,
they would have to climb all 1,710 stairs.
In an act of national pride, a Frenchman scaled the tower to hoist the French
flag during the last part of World War II. When it became clear to Hitler that
he would lose the war, he demanded that the tower be destroyed.
Paris legend recounts the story: The man in charge of carrying out Hitler’s
order, General Dietrich von Choltitz, liked the tower and disobeyed Hitler’s
Evidence still can be found of the German occupation in Paris, as many
buildings still have bullet holes in their sides. However, the Eiffel Tower
still stands strong - a testament to France’s triumph over the Nazis in the
Second World War.
1) Scandal at the Tower
The Eiffel Tower wouldn’t be a world-renowned structure without some scandal
surrounding it. Over the years, it has been the site for numerous incidents of
bad or defamatory behavior. For example, in 2010, after snow had fallen on the
Parc du Champ De Mars lawn, someone drew a giant penis in the snow. The depiction was
clearly visible when people looked down from the tower and onto the snow.
Parc du Champ De Mars, Paris:
In 2013, 60 tons of mini Eiffel Tower trinkets were seized by the Parisian
police because they were being sold on the black market. The items were
confiscated because they were not taxed.
In 2007, 15 employees of the Eiffel Tower were arrested on charges of fraud.
Police estimated that these employees conducted over 100,000 fraudulent
transactions, pocketing the money they made from printing additional tickets
that had not been recorded as being sold. The employees, who spent some time in
prison, were assessed fines for the amounts of the fraudulent sales.
Eiffel Tower and the Parc du Champ De Mars With Downtown
Paris in Background:
via Wikimedia Commons
Besides all these illegal activities, the Eiffel Tower is also a place where
secret rendezvous are planned, all which gives the iconic site an extra flair of
excitement as well..
You can’t help but conclude that the Eiffel Tower is a fascinating place.
Even though the structure is well-known around the world, there certainly is
more to learn about this mysterious gem.
While the attraction has been seen as a site of controversy, it also has been
seen as a structure that has fostered unity and national pride. Risky adventures
and personal goals have been realized at the site.
The center and heart of Paris, the Eiffel Tower definitely is not the
structure of yesteryear. Nevertheless, Gustave Eiffel would, no doubt, be
pleased by the noteworthy influence that the tower has had on the world in the
last three centuries.
USA Today(tourist destination, number of tourists)