There were A LOT of pictures taken of and on the Eiffel Tower as well as the River Seine. There were also a lot of facts being thrown around. Therefore, enjoy a rapid fire of pictures and facts!
Facts Learned from the Eiffel Tower Tour
(Includes facts about the tower itself, and facts about certain landmarks seen from the tower.)
- Built by Gustav Eiffel for the World Fair in Paris in 1889, the Eiffel Tower served as the gateway into the fair.
- The World Fair was especially important as it was the centennial of the French Revolution. The tower would help represent the greatness of France. (As the tour guide had said, “We can revolt and build tall buildings!”)
- It took over 2 years 2 months and 5 days to build 28 January 1887 to 31 March 1889.
- It was only supposed to stay up for 20 years, but Eiffel fought for it to stay. His scientific additions saved the structure. (It was also fairly popular and remains so with nearly 7 million visitors per year)
- The tower was the tallest building in the world, standing at 300 meters. Then in 1929 the American built the Chrysler Building (319 meters) and took that position away. (“Those dang Americans” – tour guide).
- Thus the tower had the antenna added making it 5 meters taller. Again it held the title of tallest structure.
- Well, America decided to build the Empire State Building (381 meters). Nothing could be done. (“Those dang Americans” – tour guide).
- Oh speaking of Americans, apparently Eiffel had some trouble building the tower and called in some American engineers for help!
- Another foreign country fact is when Hitler took over Paris, he actually objected the decision to burn the city and tower to the ground. He was a lover of the arts and also saw the tower as a bragging right.
- The original color was reddish, but due to need for repair it was repainted again and again and again (18 times in total).
- As said before, it was originally reddish, but it’s been yellow, chestnut brown, and now bronze
- It takes about 18 months to paint the whole tower, as well as a lot of people, paint, and protective measures.
- There are 72 names engraved along the sides of the tower. These names belong to important mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who assisted in the construction.
- Eiffel had wanted the tower to serve as more than a decoration. The tower thus works as a beacon, meteorological lab, and a radio tower.
- The lift within the Eiffel Tower was indeed already built, it was another bragging device. Eiffel would take people up to the top to show off.
- The original life is a hydraulic counterweight and has a slanted track from the 1st to the 2nd floor.
- Unlike London, the financial district ended up being built outside the city of Paris. This had to due with the height of skyscrapers
- There were 13 other buildings similar to the Tour Montparnasse that were planned to be built. However it blocked the view of other smaller buildings and was quickly distasteful to the citizens.
- Through protest, an agreement was made that no buildings over 7 stories would be built within the city.
- This building also serves as the Danish Embassy and thus cannot be torn down due to political politeness.
- There were a few other structures taller than 7 stories built before the agreement.
- The symbol on the building represents the city’s desire to hold the 2024 Summer Olympics. (I’ve been seeing it everywhere! Posters and clothes.)
- In a straight line, starting from Notre Dame and ending at the Grande Arc is the Axe historique (Historical Axis) of Paris
- There’s 800 years of history along the line. There are many monuments that can be seen during the 2 hour walk
- The tour guide talked about 5 specifically: Notre Dame, The Louvre, Concorde, Arc de Triomphe and the French Communist Party Headquarters
- Notre Dame took 20 years to “complete”.
- It isn’t actually completed because the 2 flat towers were supposed to have spires constructed
- The Arc de Triomphe was built in order for Napolean to parade under after sucessful conquests.
- The Arc was not completed before Napolean’s death in exile. His remains were however carried under the Arc on his way to his burial place.
- Napolean’s body is buried under the golden tomb of the Les Invalides.
- The Louvre.. actually I don’t recall any facts. But I’ll write about what we saw in my next blog. (Also this picture is from my set taken at the Louvre, but I couldn’t get one from the Eiffel Tower, too hard to see where she was pointing)
- The Place de la Concorde is famous for it’s public executions that took place during the Revolution.
- The execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette garnered a crowd of 80,000 people!
- The last use of the guillotine was 1977, it wasn’t public however.
- The obelisk that stands in the middle of Concorde, is a 3,000 year old Egyptian “gift” to the French.
- Napoleon actually stole it. And the British stole it’s twin. (With further research, this isn’t true. It was gift from the King of Egypt at the time and the British received a different obelisk, Cleopatra’s Needle. So the twin to the Luxor Obelisk remains in Pylon)
- Alexander III’s bridge was built to commemorate France’s alliance with Russia. This was due to the threat of Germany at the time.
- Another homage to the Russia and French relation is a Russian orthodox church that had just been completed this past year.
- Lastly, if you want the perfect photo of the Eiffel. Stand on the raised area between the two buildings that belonged to the French Communist Party. This i the only place you can get the Tower from bottom to top.
I think that’s it for facts! Credit to Wikipedia and the Tour Eiffel site for helping refresh my mind on the information given during the tour. Too much info to keep straight.
A few of the photos were taken during the River Seine tour since a lot of the buildings could be seen from the water. There’s too many photos to share from the Seine (over 200), so here are some of my favorites.
People are very adventurous with their sitting along the Seine River.
Notre Dame actually sits on an island in the Seine.
There were so many people on boats, bridges, and along the edges that would wave to us! I felt like royalty!
There are over 20 bridges crossing the Seine and each one is unique.
Oh I do have one more fact from the Eiffel. Yup, that’s the Lady Liberty the US gifted to France in return for our big one. Which was actually built by Eiffel himself. Our Statue of Liberty, received in 1886, celebrates our independence in 1776. This one, given to the French in 1889 is to celebrate the Revolution. Both symbols of freedom actually face each other. Even across oceans, our two countries are united.
Before we left the area, we did see a newlywed couple taking wedding photos. Paris is the “City of Love” after all. (SPOILER: This is only the first couple we saw)