Bonjour! Today, March 31, 2016 marks the 127th anniversary of the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower.
This towering iron-lattice tower is no doubt one of the most iconic symbols of Paris and France, in general. It dominates the Parisian skyline and has been the source of countless inspirations from writers, actors, poets, and the general public. It is also one of the most visited tourist spots on Earth and no visit in Paris would be complete without taking a snapshot of yourself with the iconic tower in the background.
So here are 10 facts about the tower.
01: The 1889 Paris Exposition
The Eiffel Tower originally built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in Paris and was not intended to be permanent. It was to be demolished in 1909 but was repurposed instead a giant radio antenna.
02: The Forgotten Designers
Contrary to the popular belief, it was not Gustave Eiffel who designed the tower. It was his senior engineers Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier who made the design of tower. Architect Stephen Sauvestre also contributed to it. With Sauvestre’s edits, Eiffel approved the plans and brought the rights to the patent.
03: By The Numbers
The Eiffel Tower’s construction took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days. The Tower weighs 10,100 metric tons and has 1,665 steps. It was assembled from 18,000 parts, held together by 2.5 million rivets. There are 20,000 lightbulbs illuminating the Tower at night.
04: A Total Makeover
To keep the Eiffel Tower from rusting it is repainted every 7 years with 60 metric tonnes of paint, the weight of about 10 elephants. It takes about 18 months for 25 painters using 1,500 brushes to repaint the entire tower. The tower is not painted one uniform color. To counteract atmospheric perspective, the tower is painted darker at the top and becomes gradually lighter towards the bottom.
05: World War 2
When Hitler visited Paris during the war, the French deliberately cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so that Hitler would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top.
06: Initial Opinions
The Tower was met with a lot of criticisms during its early days. Parisians during that time considered it structurally unsound and an eyesore. The novelist Guy de Maupassant allegedly hated the tower so much. It was said he often ate lunch in the Tower’s restaurant. When asked why, he said that is the only place in the city where he couldn’t see the tower.
There are over 30 replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world. There are a number of other replicas around the world, including one in Las Vegas and one at the Window of the World theme park in Shenzhen, China.
08: Names On The Tower
Gustave Eiffel engraved on the tower seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in recognition of their contributions. Try to find them all when you visit the tower.
The Eiffel Tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. The Tower held the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years before it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.
10: A Green Makeover
The Eiffel Tower underwent a green makeover early this year by installing two wind turbines inside the metal scaffolding. The turbines will produce 10,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power the first floor. See more here.