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Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (French: la Tour Eiffel) is a metallic tower built on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France, and is nowadays the most famous landmark and symbol of Paris. At the time it was built (1889), it was the tallest building in the world and remained so until 1930. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, it is a premier tourist destination, with over 5.5 million visitors per year.

The name is pronounced in French, but English speakers often adopt a German-sounding pronunciation /'ajfəl/, similar to "eye-full".



was built from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle (1889), a World's fair marking the centennial celebration of the French revolution. It was inaugurated on March 31, 1889, and opened on May 6. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron, using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The risk of accident was great, for unlike modern skyscrapers the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. Yet, because Eiffel took good care of his workers with movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died (during the installation of Otis Elevator's lifts) -- which was remarkable at the time.

The tower is 300 meters (986 feet) tall, not including the 24-meter television antenna on top. The metal structure weighs in at 7,300 tons (the total weight is 10,100 tons). It was the world's tallest structure for 40 years. According to the official website for the tower, the summit is reached by 1,665 steps and not, as popularly believed, by 1,792 steps (the same as the year of the First French Republic).

Maintenance on the tower includes applying 50 tons of three graded tones of paint every 7 years to protect it from rust. On occasion, the color of the paint is changed. The tower is currently painted to a shade of brown. On the first floor, there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the color to use for a future session of painting. Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the Eiffel Tower will shift away from the sun by eight centimetres because of expansion of the sun-warmed metal.

The tower was met with resistance from the public when it was first built, since many thought it would be an eyesore. Today, it is widely considered to be one of the most striking pieces of architectural art in the world.

One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the Eiffel Tower. In reality, one can be a few hundred meters away from the tower and unable to see it.

Originally, Eiffel had a permit to leave the tower standing for 20 years, more than recouping his expenses, but, as it proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to stay after the end of the permit.


Since the beginning of the 20th century the Eiffel Tower has been used for transmission purposes. Until the 1950s there was a triangular area aerial consisting of several wires running from the top to anchor points on the Mars field. This aerial was fed by transmitters which were in small housings on the Mars field and used for longwave transmission. Since 1957 the Eiffel Tower is used as transmission tower for FM and TV and therefore has an aerial on the top.

The Eiffel Tower has two restaurants: Altitude 95, on the first floor (95 m above sea level); and the Jules Verne, an expensive gastronomical restaurant in the second floor, with a private elevator, with one star in the Michelin Red Guide.


Father Theodor Wulf in 1910 took observations of radiant energy radiation at the top and bottom of the Eiffel Tower, discovering more than was expected at the top, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.

In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the Eiffel Tower for scrap.

In 1930, the Tower lost the title of the World's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York.

From 1925 to 1936, illuminated signs for Citroën adorned three of the tower's four sides, making it the tallest billboard in the world at the time.

When Adolf Hitler visited occupied Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that he would have to climb the 1,665 steps to the summit - the part to repair them was allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though it was working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis. He chose to stay on the ground. A Frenchman also scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag.

On January 3, 1956 a fire damaged the top of the tower.

In 1959 the present radio antenna was added to the top.

In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; this was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, more recently known as the Red Room.

In the year 2000, flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

The tower received its 200,000,000th guest on November 28, 2002.

At 19:20 on July 22, 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after forty minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.

Appearance in film

  • In the film Van Helsing, the Eiffel Tower is under construction.
  • In Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, the babies are atop the tower while using the giant Reptar invention.
  • In Team America: World Police, a rocket blows the tower up, then the tower falls on the Arc de Triomphe.
  • The James Bond film A View to a Kill contains a scene in the Eiffel Tower including scenes in a fictional restaurant there.
  • The tower is shown in the classic 1970 animated film The Aristocats.
  • The tower is destroyed in Armageddon.
  • The tower flew and moved around Paris in the puppet version of Without a Paddle, that scene only starts after the credits end.
  • The tower (and the rest of Paris) were almost blown up by a terrorist nuclear bomb and Lois Lane almost plunged to her death under its elevator in Superman II.
  • In Mars Attacks!, the Eiffel Tower is destroyed by Martians.
  • In Godzilla: Final Wars, Kamacuras or Kumonga attacks the tower.
  • The Eiffel Tower can be seen on TV in Independence Day.
  • In The Core, the cloud turns into a storm or something, and another turning cloud is seen on the sky with the Eiffel Tower under it (which it is in real-life).
  • The tower is seen in Eurotrip.
  • In the end of The War of the Worlds, the tower is seen destroyed.
  • Condorman attempts to fly off of the tower in the movie by the same name.
  • At the end of the 1965 Blake Edwards movie, The Great Race staring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon, [1] the tower is blown up by a misfired cannon shot from Professor Fate's car.
  • In The Real World Paris television show on the US MTV network, the tower is seen in all or some episodes.
  • The Tower is featured in Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

Imitations and reproductions

Several reproductions/models of the Eiffel Tower (often smaller-scale) exist.

Reproductions (scale models)

In order of decreasing height:

Imitations (similar towers, not scale models)

In order of decreasing height:

Further remarkable lattice towers

Many remarkable lattice towers were and are nicknamed Eiffel Tower. The Radio Tower Gliwice was nicknamed "Eiffel Tower of Upper Silesia" and the wood framework tower of the transmitter Ismaning, which was demolished in 1983 was called the "Bavarian Eiffel Tower".

The 72 names

Main article: The 72 names on the Eiffel Tower.

On the tower, the 72 names of French scientists and engineers are engraved in recognition of their contributions.This engraving was overpainted at the beginning of the 20th century and restored in 1986-1987 by SNTE ("Société Nouvelle d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel"), a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower (the Tower is owned by the City of Paris).

Image copyright

Images of the Eiffel Tower have long been in the public domain; however in 2003, the operating company SNTE installed a new lighting display on the tower, the design of which they then copyrighted. The effect is to put the night-time image of the tower under copyright. It follows that it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower without permission.

The imposition of copyright is not without some controversy. The Director of Documentation for SNTE, Stéphane Dieu, commented in January 2005 "It is really just a way to manage commercial use of the image, so that it isn't used in ways we don't approve". However, it also potentially has the effect of prohibiting tourist photographs of the tower at night from being published. [5]

In a recent decision, the Court of Cassation ruled that an architect could not claim copyright over images including one building the design of which they held the copyright of if the photograph encompasses a larger area. This seems to indicate that SNTE cannot claim copyright on photographs of Paris incorporating the lighted tower at night.

See also


External links

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