Yes, the Eiffel Tower turns 132 today. It opened in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle of Paris and the first visitors were Buffalo Bill and the British Royal Family – bet that was a fascinating chat!
It was supposed to be dismantled after 20 years, but was saved by having a telegraph transmitter attached to the top. It’s now the most loved icon of Paris, though some people love it more than others. In 2008 a woman “married” the Eiffel Tower and changed her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel.
It’s currently being painted for the 20th time, a job which has to be done regularly and requires a stonking 60 tonnes of paint. “Yellow-brown” is a colour that her designer, Gustave Eiffel favoured, and is the colour chosen for Madame Eiffel as she is affectionately known, a little hint of gold, to have her dressed up for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Here’s 10 further fun facts about our Birthday Girl:-
1. It was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.
2. The Eiffel Tower is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes. That’s about forty times the height of the Statue of Liberty.
3. The Tour is repainted every seven years.
4. 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!
5. 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.
6. 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”.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Around 7 million people a year visit the tower, it is the world’s most visited, paid monument.
10.There are 1665 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Take the lift!
Head to the famous viewing platform to look over the city of light with this fabulous free virtual tour.