Can anything put us in the mood for romance, love and a little French flair more than the Eiffel Tower? Not just one of the most iconic symbols of Paris, this instantly recognizable landmark is truly global.
We share the best Eiffel Tower tips with you for when you make your visit to the City of Light. After all, everyone needs an Eiffel Tower guide to make the most of their experience with this amazing feat of engineering. However, there’s far more to this monument than the evocative outline it cuts on the Parisian skyline. Our six unusual and unexpected facts below let you get up close and personal to this art nouveau masterpiece of Monsieur Gustave Eiffel.
The Tower was never meant to be permanent
Of the many surprising facts about the Tower, perhaps the most shocking of all is that it was never meant to be a permanent structure on the Parisian landscape. Instead, it was intended to be a temporary installation that commemorated the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution at the 1889 World Fair. But, a decision to add equipment at the top of it to transmit wireless signals meant that a longer lifespan was in store for the monument. Today, the equipment is still critical to broadcasting and radio and TV shows have been beamed from it around the world. Yay for radio!
The Eiffel Tower is married
While the tower instills admiration in nearly everyone, in one specific person it instilled love, fittingly, perhaps, in a city dedicated to romance. In 2007, Erika Aya, an American lady who now prefers to be called Erika Eiffel, married the tower in a commitment ceremony! We’ll never know whether it was love at first sight, or whether the lady in question suffers from paraphilia, a condition where individuals develop feelings for inanimate objects, but it’s good to remember that the Eiffel Tower is spoken for.
The artists of Paris initially hated the Tower
The tower began to cause controversy before it was even built. Many, including the famous French author, Guy de Maupassant, from the artistic community of the time objected to the tower on the grounds that it was an eyesore and not feasible for Paris. In fact, it was referred to as a “gigantic black smokestack” and opponents insisted it would ruin the transcendent beauty of the city. Part of this argument stemmed from the long-standing friction in France between architecture and engineering.
It came to a head when a letter was sent by the “Committee of Three Hundred” (artists opposed to the tower) to the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, Charles Alphand. The letter was published in the Le Temps newspaper on Valentines Day 1887. Nonetheless, as history has shown us, the construction of the Eiffel Tower went ahead and today it is a much-loved symbol of Paris and the most visited paid-for monument in the world.
It wasn’t designed by Gustave Eiffel
The early designs for the tower were by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers who worked at Gustave Eiffel’s company. The idea for the look of the structure was inspired by the Latting Observatory, which had been built in 1853 in New York City. While Gustave Eiffel wasn’t involved with the early drawings and designs of the tower that now bears his name, he did stump up for the bulk of the investment required and purchased the patent rights.
Tradition is observed to maintain the Tower
In its lifetime, the Eiffel Tower has transformed from a reddish brown color to today’s bronze hue. This has been achieved through the 18 repainting jobs the tower has had since being constructed. Painting the tower is done using strictly old school methods. This means a good old-fashioned paintbrush and bucket is used. Mechanical painting techniques are not allowed due to the possibility of them being too corrosive for the iron.
Take a photo at night and break the law
It’s illegal to take photos of the Eiffel Tower after the sun sets. The reason for this seemingly crazy law is that a light show, called the Illumination Show, lights up the tower each night. The show is considered a work of art by the government and is therefore subject to copyright laws. So, no taking selfies at night with the tower in the background and putting them up on Facebook!
Join one of our Eiffel Tower Tours to get up close and personal with this world famous monument and discover more of Paris. Just a friendly warning beforehand; one visit to Paris and you’ll lose your heart to the city forever...