The Eiffel Tower is the iconic symbol of Paris, and you’ve likely heard about and seen images of it all your life. The Eiffel Tower recently reached a milestone, celebrating its 130th anniversary! Defying the critics and naysayers, it still stands tall in spite of starting life as a temporary fixture so many years ago. Dominating the skyline of central Paris, the Eiffel Tower is now classified as a historic monument. Whether you’re relaxing on the lawn and looking up at it or looking at the world from inside the tower, it’s quite impressive.
You can see the Eiffel Tower from many vantage points on both sides of the Seine River. On my first spotting of the soaring tower when I arrive in the city, I always catch my breath and smile. Ah, Paris!
Here are a few awesome reasons to visit and some fascinating things to look for when you go to the Eiffel Tower.
It’s a Design Wonder
The Tower was built for the Exposition of 1889, which marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Taking just two years and two months to construct, the Eiffel Tower is called by the official site “a veritable technical feat.”
The design is complicated and intricate, far more than it appears from a distance. The metal is held together with more than 2 million rivets. These metal pieces, each so small, work together to hold up the massive structure.
You Can Marvel That It’s Still Standing
The plan was to destroy the Eiffel Tower 20 years after the Exposition. But creator Gustave Eiffel figured out a way to save his pet project. He declared a purpose for the tower based on science. It could serve as a place for astronomical and weather observations. It could serve as a telegraph communications point. It’s perfect for studies of the wind. Mr. Eiffel put it this way: “It will be for everyone an observatory and a laboratory the likes of which has never before been available to science.”
If you look on each leg of the tower today, you find the names of 72 scientists honored in their field.
The Eiffel Tower served as a wireless transmitter site during World War I and later aided in radio and television broadcasting.
And so, its contributions to science have insured the survival of the tower that was not meant to last.
It’s Bigger in Person Than in Photos
You’ll Want to Go Up Inside the Eiffel Tower
You can take an elevator or climb (many!) stairs up into the tower. About seven million visitors a year do just that. I knew that I wanted to go up in the structure before we flew to Paris. Friends of mine wanted to simply gaze at the tower from the ground. If you know you want to go up, you can reserve tickets for the elevator and save standing in long lines.
Enjoy Views All Around
You can climb to three levels of the Tower, and at any of these you can take in the view. The Tower affords a 360-degree panorama of Paris. The peaceful Seine flows below, with what looks like toy boats floating along.
Fun Fact: What Color Is the Eiffel Tower?
The Eiffel Tower is currently three shades of brown. Every seven years, 60 tons of paint are needed to repaint the Iron Lady. So far, the tower has been pained 18 times. When presented to Paris to commemorate the French Revolution, the tower was painted red. As much as I love it today, I think a return to the original red would make it really “pop” in the sky.
The Eiffel Tower Lights Up the Night
Seeing the immense tower lit up against the darkness is an experience you will remember always. It takes 20,000 light bulbs to illuminate the Eiffel Tower, and once an hour on the hour for five enchanting minutes they sparkle. You can thank 25 mountain climbers for placing these lights on the tower. And it took them five months.
The magnificence, the history, and the universal recognition of the Eiffel Tower combine to make it a one-of-a-kind marvel. I recommend that you travel up in it and take in the vistas of Paris. It’s an experience you’ll always remember and treasure – and likely want to repeat.
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The official Eiffel Tower website gives all the information you need to buy your tickets online before your visit. You can also read more about the history of the tower. You can purchase a special edition book published for the 130th anniversary of the tower. And if you are a die-hard Eiffel Tower fan, you can buy one of the original rivets from 1889 for a mere 525 euro!
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