Today in 1889, the Eiffel Tower first opened to the public after more than two years of construction. It’s known the world over as a historic landmark, but during its construction, the Eiffel Tower didn’t exactly receive a warm reception from the people of Paris. Notable critics at the time went so far to call it “monstrous” and “dishonor of Paris,” while demanding its design be changed. Well, with all due respect to those 19th century Parisians, we couldn’t disagree more – the Eiffel Tower is an iconic and POPULAR monument. More than 250 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower during the last 126 years!
Here are some other notable facts about the Eiffel Tower, or “La Dame de Fer,” that you may not know:
- The Eiffel Tower is 996 feet tall and opened as the entryway to the 1889 World Fair, but it wasn’t supposed to be a permanent fixture. It was only intended to last 20 years. However, it’s lifetime was extended thanks to scientific experiments. The Eiffel Tower was the site of the first radio transmissions from the Pantheon Tower in 1898; it served a military radio post in 1903; and transmitted the first public radio program in 1925.
- The Eiffel Tower was the tallest man made structure in the world for 41 years. What next feat of human engineering beat out the Eiffel Tower as world’s tallest? The Chrysler Building in New York City took that title at it’s completion in 1930. The Chrysler Buildings’ reign on top was short lived, however, when The Empire State Building beat it out as the tallest structure four months later. Leave it to New York City to out-do itself!
- You won’t feel much swaying on the Eiffel Tower, even in the windiest conditions. The tower was built to be wind resistant, and only sways a few inches due to wind. So what could cause any actual movement? A hot, sunny day! The sun facing sides of the iron-based structure often expand enough to move the top of the tower nearly 7 inches away from the sun.
- During France’s occupation in World War II, the Eiffel Tower was closed to the public. However, In 1944, American troops liberated Paris and set up their transmission equipment on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower to communicate with reinforcements – no visitor ticket needed!
- Today, The Eiffel Tower welcomes nearly 7 million visitors a year, around 75% of whom are foreigners, making it the most visited monument (that you have to pay to visit) in the world.
And with that we say, Bon Anniversaire, La Tour Eiffel! Tours to the Eiffel Tower are an iconic part of any travelers time in Paris, and most certainly a stop on an ACIS tour. Learn more about our Paris visits here! Is your french class interested in experience France? Don’t miss our 5 trips for French Teachers.
5 Trips for French Teachers
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5 TRIPS FOR FRENCH TEACHERS