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Last Updated: 5 September 2023

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This week’s most surprising video shows the Eiffel Tower being picked up by an American tourist in a brilliant video montage. It seems that the Eiffel Tower disappears… does it really?

 

The Eiffel Tower disappears!

When published, this short video (6 seconds) created a formidable buzz on social networks. His video on his YouTube channel alone has over 1 million views.

Web illusionist Zach King is shown ‘stealing’ the Eiffel Tower. He is seen picking up Paris’ Iron Lady with incredible ease. Check this out:

As the French would say: “C’est bluffant”!

 

Let’s analyse the video clip!

Zach King was in Paris and delivered this extraordinary video. “I’m taking a souvenir from France,” he says at the beginning of his video. While he appears to be at Trocadéro, with the Eiffel Tower just a few hundred meters away in the background, Zach King acts as if he’s about to grab it. And, thanks to his magic and exceptional skills, the young modern magician actually manages to seize the Iron Lady designed by Gustave Eiffel.

In reality, Zach King stood before the Eiffel Tower and pretended to pick it up using a perspective trick. He then stopped recording and resumed it after placing a miniature Eiffel Tower that he had placed on the ledge. Even though we know the trick, this performance is incredibly well-executed.

 

Behind the Magic: Zach King’s Eiffel Tower Trick Exposed!

While Zach King’s video is undeniably impressive, it’s not without quirks. Only true Parisians might notice that when the Eiffel Tower disappears, the “empty background” he creates doesn’t include the Montparnasse Tower, which should logically appear. This small oversight might escape the notice of others, but for locals, it’s a delightful detail that adds a touch of authenticity to the illusion. Nevertheless, it’s all part of the fun, and Zach King’s creativity continues to captivate audiences worldwide.

 

Zac King, a modern-day magician

When we think of magic shows, we usually imagine a performer coming on stage playing cards, a top hat, a rabbit, or various contraptions designed to make things disappear. However, Zach King is a magician for the digital age.

Hailing from California, Zach King utilizes the Vine mobile app to perform his enchanting feats. Using this app, he can seemingly turn water into ice, transform fruit juice into candy, or even venture through his computer screen to pluck an apple or discard a piece of paper into the virtual trash can. Zach King can even change his T-shirt or appear to collide with a wall and miraculously pass through it.

You might find this utterly fantastic, but there’s a secret behind these magical acts. In reality, Vine allows users to record 6-second video loops. What’s clever is that Zach can pause the recording and resume it a few minutes later. The final video appears seamless, but it actually combines different takes, allowing him to switch T-shirts without being caught on camera or giving the illusion of passing through a car window. Despite this behind-the-scenes trickery, we can’t help but applaud Zach King’s imaginative use of the Vine app.

 

Who wanted the Eiffel Tower to disappear?

In real life, individuals and groups indeed opposed the construction of the Eiffel Tower and wanted it dismantled or destroyed, especially during its early years. Some of the notable figures and groups who expressed opposition or criticism include:

  1. Artists and Intellectuals: A group of prominent French artists and intellectuals signed a letter of protest against the Eiffel Tower’s construction. They believed the tower would be an eyesore on the Parisian skyline and a detriment to the city’s aesthetics. These artists included writers such as Guy de Maupassant and Alexandre Dumas fils and painters like Charles Gounod.
  2. “Committee of the 300”: This group of prominent Parisians vehemently opposed the Eiffel Tower. They expressed their discontent in newspaper articles and public protests. However, their efforts were unsuccessful, and the tower was completed as planned.
  3. Architects and Engineers: Some architects and engineers of the time criticized the tower’s design and considered it an engineering monstrosity. They believed it lacked artistic merit and was out of place in the heart of Paris.
Paris World's Fair in 1889
Paris World’s Fair in 1889

 

Hitler’s failed attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower

During World War II, when Nazi Germany occupied Paris, Adolf Hitler did indeed give orders to destroy several iconic landmarks in the city, including the Eiffel Tower, as part of a scorched-earth policy. However, these orders were ultimately refused by the then German governor of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz.

Hitler in front of Eiffel Tower (Public Domain)
Hitler in front of Eiffel Tower (Public Domain)

In August 1944, as the Allied forces were advancing toward Paris, Hitler’s orders to destroy the city’s landmarks were relayed to von Choltitz. Hitler’s rationale was that if the Germans could not control Paris, then Paris should not exist as a valuable city for the Allies. The Eiffel Tower, along with other historical and cultural treasures, was to be demolished.

Von Choltitz, despite his loyalty to the Nazi regime, made the fateful decision to disobey Hitler’s orders. He believed that destroying Paris would be a senseless act and that preserving its cultural heritage was more important. Von Choltitz’s defiance of Hitler’s orders is often credited with saving many of Paris’s iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower.

As a result, the Eiffel Tower and much of Paris’s historic architecture survived the war largely intact. Von Choltitz’s actions have been celebrated as a courageous stand against the destruction of one of the world’s most beloved cities and its symbols.

Eiffel Tower disappears
Soldiers of the 4th US Infantry Division looking at the Eiffel Tower after the Liberation of Paris in 1944 (Public Domain)

Despite these early criticisms, the Eiffel Tower ultimately became an enduring symbol of France and an iconic landmark worldwide. It became one of the most visited and recognized structures globally, attracting millions of tourists to Paris annually. Over time, public opinion shifted, and the tower was celebrated for its engineering marvel and architectural significance.

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Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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