When the Eiffel Tower was being designed by Monsieur Gustave Eiffel, he can have had no idea how his creation would becoming a global and much loved icon. Feast your eyes on these gorgeous photos of the “Iron Lady” while you read these 12 quite incredible facts about the Eiffel Tower…
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. The first visitors to the Eiffel Tower which opened to the public on 15 May, 1889, were the British Royal family and Buffalo Bill.
3. 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.
4. The Eiffel Tower is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes. That’s more than three times the height of the Statue of Liberty.
5. Repainting the tower, which happens every seven years, requires 60 tonnes of paint.
6. 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 – imagine if they had lost one of the 18,000 metal parts or 2.5 million (yes million) rivets, or if they lost the plans for how it all goes together!
8. 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.
When do the lights go on at the Eiffel Tower? It’s one of the most popular questions about it!
9. 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”.
10. 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.
11. The Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza (Italy ) valued the Eiffel Tower at 434 billion € in August 2012! This apparently makes it Europe’s most valuable commodity.
12. Around 7 million people a year visit the tower, it is the world’s most visited, paid monument.
Bonus fact: There are 1665 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Take the lift!
Virtual Tour of the Eiffel Tower
Head to the famous viewing platform to look over the city of light with this fabulous free virtual tour: artsandculture.google.com/streetview/tour-eiffel
If you love podcasts, have a listen to our Marvellous Monuments of France episode all about the Eiffel Tower and more