The Eiffel Tower: a bit of history
The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889 to mark the centenary of the French Revolution.
The tower takes its name from its architect, Gustave Eiffel. However he was not the only one to work on realising his dream. Two engineers from his company, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, had the idea of the project first.
- Between 120 and 200 men worked on the construction site.
- More than 300 worked remotely in the workshops at Levallois-Perret (in the North-West suburb of Paris).
The tower consists of puddled iron which originates from the iron factories of Messieurs Dupont et Fould (since closed down), based in Pompey, near Nancy, Lorraine. The Pompey factory needed to supply Eiffel with:
- 18,038 pieces of puddled iron
- which were then connected using 2,500,000 rivets
- by three hundred workers.
Gustave Eiffel had the 72 names of French engineers, mathematicians, and scientists inscribed all around the first platform of the tower.
Bordering the River Seine, it was the monumental entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair and led to the exhibition pavilions set up along the Champ de Mars.
The monument today
When completed, the iron tower was 300 metres tall. Today, its height (including antenna) reaches 325 metres tall and still stands today as the tallest monument in the Paris region. It is France’s second tallest structure after the Millau Viaduct (343 m). It is of similar height to the Chrysler Building in New York City which dates from 1930.
The tower has three platforms opened for visitors:
- The first level is 57 m high.
- The second stands at 115 m.
- The last level reaches 276 m with a view stretching for 70 km, as far as the outskirts of Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport and the countryside beyond its suburbs.
The Eiffel Tower is the world’s most visited paid monument. More than 250 million people have climbed the tower since its construction in 1889.
In 2011, the monument welcomed 7.1 million visitors, including 75% foreigners.
The Eiffel Tower Quiz
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