To us, one of the fascinating things about the Eiffel Tower is that it was inspired by 19th-century bridge construction technology. The germ of the idea that eventually became La Tour Eiffel was a design fantasy of two engineers working in Gustave Eiffel's office. At that time most of Eiffel's company's projects involved designing and building iron bridges, all over the world.
A couple of engineers working in the often began to wonder about placing two mirror-image bridge span sections back-to-back and then standing it upright. If the sections were 300 meters long, it would be the tallest structure in the world. (Another fascinating thing about the Eiffel Tower is that it was, in fact, the tallest building int he world for many years.) Fortuitously, soon after this idea came to them, the French government called for proposals to create a monument celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, to be completed by 1889.
And the rest is history…
It took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to complete construction of the tower.
The Eiffel Tower weighs about 10,000,000 kilograms, or 22 million pounds.
At completion the Eiffel Tower was almost twice as tall as the structure it surpassed. The Eiffel Tower at 300 meters,The Washington Monument at 172 meters.
But the Eiffel Tower only retained its status as world's tallest structure for 41 years, until it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in 1930.
With the addition of radio towers, the Eiffel Tower is now 324 meters tall, as tall as an 81 storey building.
It takes 50,000 kilograms (110,000 pounds) of paint to coat the Eiffel Tower.
Three different shades of color are used to paint the tower to give it the proper perspective from the ground.
There are over 1,700 steps to the third level. (Luckily, you're not allowed to walk up them any longer, but you can walk to the second level, which is only around 1,000 steps!)
The first level is 57 meters above the ground, the second level is 115 meters, and the third level is 274 meters. (190 feet, 380 feet, 900 feet.)
The elevator trip from the second level to the top level was originally made in two parts, with passengers having to change cars on a open catwalk halfway up the narrow part of the tower.
The Eiffel Tower light display is copyrighted under French law, so that it is illegal to publish photographs of it (in France, at least).
The Eiffel Tower was instrumental during the Battle of the Marne in 1914, when signals sent from the tower directed French troops to the front lines.
More that 2 million people visited the Eiffel Tower at its inauguration at the Exposition Universelle of 1889. Since then, more than 250 million people have visited.
The tower opened in 1889 at the World's Fair to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
Of course, the tower is named for the architect, Gustave Eiffel.
It welcomes over 7 million visitors a year, making it the most popular landmark in the world.
Boat, bus, bike or Metro – there are many ways to get to the Eiffel Tower. Here are a few Metro tips:
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