fascinating facts

When the Eiffel Tower was being designed by Monsieur Gustave Eiffel, he can have had no idea how his creation would become a global and much loved icon. Read these quite incredible facts about the Eiffel Tower…not least that Eiffel built an apartment for himself at the top.

© Atout France/Franck Charel

1. The Tower was created for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair), held to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution and was completed on March 31 that year. 

2. It was not intended to be permanent.

3. The tower was going to be demolished in 1909, but was saved because it was used as a giant radio antenna.

4. The first visitors to the Eiffel Tower were the British Royal family and Buffalo Bill.

5. Even then it made headlines – it was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

© Atout France/Cédric Helsly

6. The Eiffel Tower is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes. That’s about forty times the height of the Statue of Liberty. The height, however, varies by almost 6 inches due to temperature changes.

7. Repainting the tower, which happens every seven years, requires 60 tonnes of paint, as much as 10 elephants. 

8. In 1960, Charles de Gaulle proposed temporarily dismantling the tower and sending it to Montreal for Expo 67. The plan was rejected which must have made a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief.

9. A con artist, Victor Lustig, sold the Eiffel Tower to a scrap metal dealer.

10. If you’ve ever been up the tower in the wind and thought it was moving – you’re probably right, it sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind.

© Atout France/Nathalie Baetens

11. Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is lit up and literally sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, thanks to 20,000 light bulbs. Energy saving projectors are used to light the “The Iron Lady”.

12. Photographers can take pictures of the tower by daylight without problems, but a court has ruled that the light show using 20,000 light bulbs is a copyright design.

13. The famous Beacon emits a light beam which reaches out for miles, scanning the skyline of Paris and reflecting the tower’s position as a universal and symbolic landmark.

14. The Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza (Italy) valued the Eiffel Tower at €434 billion in August 2012.

15. Around 7 million people a year visit the tower (6.98 million in 2011), it is the world’s most visited, paid monument.

16. When Hitler visited Paris, the French cut the lift cables to that if he wanted to reach the top, he would have to climb the stairs, all 1,665 of them.

17. A woman, named Erika La Tour Eiffel, married the tower in 2007.

18. In 2010, the tower had its 250 millionth visitor. 

19. Without its antenna, the tower is the second highest structure in France: the Millau viaduct is higher.

20. There is a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada (half size), and in Tokyo, Japan (full size).



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