La Tour Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower - la Tour Eiffel - was designed by: architect Stephen Sauvestre, engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, and the construction company of Gustave Eiffel after whom it is named.
It was constructed between 1887 and 1889. Below are old photos showing its construction.
It is a wrought iron tower standing 324 metres (1063 feet) high beside the River Seine on an area of land called le Champ-de-Mars in Paris.
Until 1930, it was the tallest building in the world. Today, it is the tallest building in Paris.
It has a total weight of 10,100 tons and is nicknamed La Dame de Fer meaning The Iron Lady.
Approximately seven million people visit the tower each year, making it one of the most visited monuments in the world.
Its address is: 5, avenue Anatole-France, Paris. The post code is 75007
The tower was originally built as a 'temporary gateway' to L'Exposition Universelle: - an Expo fair which was held in Paris in the year 1889. The theme for the fair was the centenary of the start of the French Revolution (1789).
A competition had been held to find the best design for the special event and, out of 107 submitted projects, it was la Tour Eiffel that was the winner! In fact, the tower had permission to remain standing for no longer than twenty years, so it was designed to be easily dismantled.
Below is a postcard image of the Eiffel Tower standing as the gateway to the 1889 fair.
At first, many people considered it to be an ugly construction and complained that it ruined Paris.
A large group of artists and writers wrote an open letter to the organiser of the fair to protest against it. The letter was entitled Les Artistes Contre La Tour Eiffel - Artists Against The Eiffel Tower. They really hated it!
The writer Guy de Maupassant was one of the many people who hated the tower when it was first built. It is a famous fact that Guy regularly ate lunch in the restaurant of the Tower. When asked why he visited the restaurant so frequently if he hated the tower so much, he replied:
- C'est le seul endroit de la ville où je ne la vois pas.
'It is the only place in town where I do not see it.'
When it was discovered that the tower makes an excellent radio antenna, the city of Paris decided not to dismantle it. Nowadays, it is still used for radio transmission and has an aerial mast at the very top.
At night, the tower is lit up.
If you aren't scared of the 324 metres height, there is an excellent view of the city of Paris from the top of the tower!
The re-painting of la Tour Eiffel begins around every seven years. It is painted in three different shades of brown. The darkest shade is at the lowest part and the lightest shade at the top. The colour of paint applied is known as le brun Tour Eiffel and it is similar to bronze.
There are seventy-two names engraved on the tower. The names can be found along all four sides, just under the first balcony. The names belong to great French scientists and engineers. Only the surnames (with no more than 12 letters) are engraved because there was not enough space to include the full names. These people are referred to as les savants de la Tour Eiffel.
An interesting fact: all the names belong to men! No females' names are included! Below are some sections:
In October 2014 a new glass floor was installed on the first floor. It is 57 metres from the ground below, making it seem that you are walking on air! It is a very scary experience! This special floor is called le plancher transparent.
Gustave Eiffel worked in an office at the very top of the tower but he had to climb many stairs to reach it! Excellent exercise! The highest part of the staircase was spiral (un escalier en colimaçon). This spiral staircase was dismantled in 1983, divided into 24 sections and the pieces were sold.
One of the spiral sections has been kept on display at the tower, on the first floor. It is known as l'escalier d'origine tour Eiffel. The other sections can be found in places all over the world!
Gustave Eiffel died on 27 December 1923 at the age of 91 years.
An interesting fact: The Statue of Liberty - la Statue de la Liberté - was a gift from France to America in 1886. The metal interior structure of the statue was built by Gustave Eiffel.