Eiffel Tower (Paris)


Tel. 01-44 11 23

Subway: Bir Hakeim

Busses: 42, 69, 82, 87

Open: daily



Description of The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (tour Eiffel, in French), initially named a 300-meter tour (300-meter tower), is a puddle-shaped iron structure designed by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, endowed with a definitive look by architect Stephen Sauvestre and built by the French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and his collaborators for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris.

Located at the end of the Champ de Mars on the banks of the River Seine, this Parisian monument, symbol of France and its capital, is the tallest structure in the city and the monument that receives the most visited entrance in the world, with 7.1 million tourists each year, with a height of 300 meters, extended later with an antenna to 324 meters. The Eiffel Tower was the highest structure in the world for 41 years.

It was built in two years, two months and five days, and at the time generated some controversy among the artists of the time, who saw it as an iron monster, after completing its function as part of the Universal Exhibitions of 1889 and 1900 , it was used in tests of the French army with communication antennas, and nowadays it serves, in addition to tourist attraction, as a broadcaster of radio and television programs.



The Third Republic and the development of techniques
Conceived in 1884, built between 1887 and 1889 and inaugurated for the universal exhibition of 1889 in Paris, the Eiffel Tower today symbolizes a whole country. However, it was not always so, and in its origins it was just one more element of the image with which France wanted to show the world the economic strength of the country.

Since 1875, the Third Republic, which was characterized by chronic political instability, could hardly be sustained. In government, political parties follow each other at a steady pace. According to Léon Gambetta (prime minister between 1881 and 1882), the cabinets were often formed by "opportunist" ministers, but whose legislative work put the stones of the principles still in force in the present: compulsory school, secularism, freedom of the press, etc.

The society of the time paid great attention to technical progress and social progress. It is this faith in the benefits of science that gave rise to universal expositions. But since the first exhibition (Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations, the "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of the Nations", London, 1851), the rulers quickly perceived that behind the technological commitment profile an effective political showcase, and it would be a mistake not to take the opportunity. Demonstrating its industrial prowess, the host country can demonstrate its advancement and its superiority over the other European powers, which reigned then in the world.

Under this vision, France repeatedly hosted the Universal Exposition, in the years 1855, 1867 and 1878. Jules Ferry, president of the Council from 1883 to 1885, decided to revive the idea of ​​holding a universal exhibition in France. On November 8, 1884, he signed a decree that officially established the celebration of a Universal Exhibition in Paris from May 5 to October 31, 1889. The year chosen was not random, because it symbolizes the centenary of the French Revolution.

Paris was once again the "center of the world", although the situation was evolving rapidly, and it is on the other side of the Atlantic, within the young economic power of the United States, where the idea of ​​a 300-meter tower will truly be born. Indeed, at the time of the Universal Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876, the American engineers Clark and Reeves imagine the project of a cylindrical post nine meters in diameter supported by metal shrouds, anchored in a circular base 45 meters in diameter, with a total height of 300 meters. For lack of credits, their project never sae the light, although in 1874 it was published in the United States (in the Scientific American magazine), and in France (in the magazine La Nature).

In the same situation, the French engineer Sebillot shows in the United States the idea of ​​an iron "sun-tower" that would light Paris. For this, he joins with the architect Jules Bourdais, who worked on the project of the Trocadero Palace for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. Together, they will conceive a project of granite "tower-beacon", 300 meters high that will know several versions , that later will compete with the Gustave Eiffel tower project, and that finally, it will never be built.

A significant precedent of all these projects was the Latting Observatory, a pointed pyramid with an iron structure and wood of 96 m height, built in New York on the occasion of the Industrial Exposition of All Nations in 1853. Access to the tower, that had steam powered elevators, was free.