Travellers Guide to the Eiffel Tower in Paris France

Lets face it, a visit to Paris can not be completed without a visit to the most famous steel erection in all of France, not just romantic Paris. Standing tall in the 7th Arrondissement, you can visit this famous landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower for free. However going up its' height will cost you. In fact, when in the city, it is impossible to avoid it. You can see it from almost any point in Paris. It simply dominates the skyline. Erected as the symbol of a world's fair called the Universal Exposition of 1889, it would at this time hold the record as the world's tallest structure until circa 1930. The steel structure rises 984 feet (300 metres) above the ground.

Picture of the Eiffel tower from below

Protests Failed to Stop Gustave Eiffel's Creation

At the inception of the idea of the tower, artists decried a loss of individuality and a visually scarred skyline. They preceded to raise huge protests against it being built. Clearly, such protests have been proven to be hollow.

The architect was Gustave Eiffel. Before this tower he was famous for crating the framework for New York's Statue of Liberty. He also had a hand in building many bridges in France as a structural engineer. he built the Eiffel Tower to show how steel and iron could be used to erect tall structures. Eiffel was responsible for financing the construction of the tower, which cost more than 1 million dollars. It was completed on March 21st, 1889 having taken just over 2 years to build. Some interesting trivia are; it has 1665 steps, it weighs 7300 tons, it is made up of over 18000 separate pieces and at least 2.5 million rivets.

Picture of the Eiffel Tower Paris France

Unexpectedly the Tower Became a Fabulous Attraction

The tower was supposed to last only until the end of the Universal Exposition and then be taken down. However it was a massive attraction. In the first year of its existence about 2 million people visited the tower. There was a cost of course and this paid some of the massive building costs. So, this convinced the government to keep it. Thank goodness they did! Well over 300 million people have visited it since it's opening.

Simply Built in Pieces to Slot Together on Site

The building was extremely intricate but, at the same time, theoretically simple. The tower was treated as a large prepacked furniture type puzzle, to be put together piece by piece. Each steel piece was accurately laid within a millimetre. The concrete foundations are only a few metres deep and the weight of each corner and pillar is spread in such a way that only a minimum of pressure is applied per square centimetre. This allows for movement of the tower, like when there is a wind. Cranes were built and used to pull up the pieces and they themselves were then built up as the building progressed.

Public Platform Up Top to See the City From

A viewing deck was built so that people could gaze on the City of Light, but the problem of getting up there was then posed. Of course, walking up over 1600 steps was close to folly not to say possibly fatally exhausting, so elevators were built, but as no one had built them to go up such heights, new techniques based on hydraulics and looped chains were developed. They have been replaced and renovated over the years. The renovations of the 1980s updated the safety standards, modified the spiral staircase to a rectilinear one and added a third elevator between the 2nd and 3rd levels.

Photograph of the Eiffel tower looking up.
A Light Show by Night

Such a height demands to be illuminated at night. Over the years, gas, electricity, incandescent to neon lamps have lit up the tower and thus the Parisian sky. Andre Citroen was one of the first to use its lighting for an ad campaign in 1925. The present scheme is based on over 350 sodium lights placed on the inside of the structure. Such a vision was most effectively used during the 2nd Millennium celebrations. There are also 2 light beams that are seen up to 80km away and synchronised such that they form a 360-degree pivoting cross.

Eiffel tower photo from the Champs de Mars park.

The Eiffel Tower stands in a park called the Champ de Mars, near the Seine River. The building includes observation decks and restaurants. The tower has been the set of many a film, including Superman II and A View to a Kill.

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