One of the most recognizable symbols in the world and something truly magnificent to behold. Originally designed as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution – designer Gustav Eiffel declared that “France will be the only country with a 300 meter flagpole”. The design was originally met with significant opposition from other prominent french designers, particularly Charles Garnier – architect of the Paris Opera – who held protest events under the towers 4 legs because it was “the only place out of sight of the wretched construction”. Barely surviving a proposal to be dismantled in 1909, the Eiffel Tower today is rightfully beloved by the citizens of France and it’s image has been adopted as the national symbol of it’s country.
I studied in Europe in 1990 after my 5th year in architecture school and spent some time in Paris during the fall. I didn’t have any money so my appreciation and fondness for the tower were developed from the ground. From the first time I saw it, it has always captivated me and for once, I am at a loss of words to articulate fully why this is true. I knew that when Michelle and Iplanned our trip, I was going to take a alot of photos. This post existed in my head well before our arrival. Pretty simple really:
Go to Paris and see tower
take bazillion photos of tower on site
take another bazillion photos from all over the city whenever I caught sight of the tower
Finally go up tower
It seems to me that it is almost impossible to take a bad photo of the Eiffel Tower – it’s that photogenic. I don’t have any photography skills that don’t come packaged along with the camera. It’s pretty much point and shoot for me. Now I’ll admit it’s a pretty nice camera but the photos here are all completely un-touched. That blue in the picture above was the color of the late evening sky.
In the end, I decided to not go up the tower once again. Am I crazy? Probably but this structure means that much to me that I kind of like leaving some secrets in place. I imagine it a little like seeing your favorite nightclub in the day with the lights turned on – things are never the same again. I like the fact that the tower is still magical and I haven’t seen the graffiti or peeling paint. For me, my memories of Paris included seeing the Eiffel Tower in the background and I don’t ever want to see Paris without her.
Some interesting Facts about the Eiffel Tower:
- It was the tallest structure in the world for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930
- Despite being 1,054 feet tall, the tower has never swayed more than 4″ in any one direction
- The tower is repainted every 7 years and 40 tons of paint are required
- It’s 300 steps to the first level and 700 more steps to the second level
- The elevators between the second level and the top travel more than 62,000 miles a year
- Starting at dusk, for the first 5 minutes of every hour, 20,000 lightbulbs flash all over the tower
- There are over 2.5 million rivets holding the tower together
- The Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Paris and the second tallest in France
- Despite it’s great height, open framework, and period at which it was built, only one person was killed during the construction (by comparision, the Hoover Dam had an estimated 96 people killed during construction by it’s completion 1935)
Yes, I took all the pictures here myself and I would appreciate it that despite not being a very good photographer, you give me credit (you know – because everything in this blog is copyright protected).