Monsieur Eiffel's elaborate wrought iron structure

No matter how many times my pink-sneaker clad feet have traipsed along Parisian rues and avenues, they return time and time again to familiar stomping grounds and queue with the rest of them to gawk at one of the world’s most photographed landmarks, the Eiffel Tower.

 Constructed in 1889 for the International Exhibition of Paris or Exposition Universelle commemorating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, the 300 meter tall structure was originally purposed to be the main entrance archway, a wrought iron monstrosity situated on the Champs de Mars.  Chosen from more than 700 prospective designs, Gustav Eiffel’s winning bid was petitioned against by 300 plus artisans and architects, all of whom canvassed concerns that the proposed design would be an eyesore on the landscape, a revoltingly ugly tower dominating over Paris “like a gigantic black smokestack”.  The litany of complaints, led by Charles Garnier, who was the architect of the old opera building, read as such: “a gigantic factory chimney whose form will disfigure the architectural harmony of the city” and “we, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection – of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower”. 

Despite the uproar, construction forged on and the Tower was completed within a 2 year period, the 7,000 steel ton structure an instantaneous sensation with locals and foreigners alike.  Slated to be dismantled upon expiration of Gustav’s 20 year land lease to the city of Paris, the Tower was granted a second lease on life, as the onset of World War 1 elevated its status from questionable curiosity to a bona fide necessity, as its radio tower technology intercepted enemy communications and aided in the capture of renowned spy Mata Hari. 

From a meeting place of scientific minds conducting out of this world experiments such as measuring the speed of wind as well as dabbling in radio transmission technology, the Eiffel Tower secured its position as a now prominent landmark dominating the French landscape. 

Fast forward a couple of decades and the rest, of course, is history.  The Eiffel Tower is beloved the world over, symbolizing the heart of Paris, its allure drawing millions of visitors a year, 250 million at last count. 

And to think, it could all have ended up as scrap metal.

Pink Sneaker Interesting Tidbits and Fascinating Facts:

·         Did you know that the cost of construction was 7,800,800 gold francs?

·         The Eiffel Tower is re-painted every 7 years in order to protect it from rust.

·         More than 50 tons of paint is used in re-painting the tower.

·         The wrought iron structure sways up to 12 cm. on windy days.

·         The tower has been quite the alluring object for daredevils to conquer, as it was scaled by a mountaineer in 1954, was parachuted off by two Englishmen in 1984 and in 1987 a bungee jumper was arrested after completing his one and only jump.

Come hang out with globe-trotters and locals alike in appreciative wonder of Monsieur Eiffel’s lattice wrought iron structure, a tower like no other...

Next week – where else in Paris do my pink-sneaker clad feet end up?  Stay tuned!!

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