Ah, the tour Eiffel! The quintessential symbol of everything love, beauty and…radio? (Yep!) As this iconic monument celebrates its 126th birthday this year, here are some lesser known facts about the Eiffel Tower:
1) It was meant to be temporary
Yes, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be a temporary installation for the 1889 World Fair, held at Paris to commemorate 100 years of the French Revolution. It was ultimately never taken down because an antenna was built at the top of the Tower to conduct wireless signals. The Eiffel Tower is still used today to beam radio and TV broadcasts around the world.
2) Gustave Eiffel didn’t design the Eiffel Tower
Despite its name, the Eiffel Tower was actually designed by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, two senior engineers in Gustave Eiffel’s company. He did, however, put in most of the investment and later bought the right to the patent.
3) People in Paris actually hated it at first
When the Eiffel Tower was built, many eminent intellectuals of the day (including famous French author Guy de Maupassant) protested vehemently against it, calling it ‘a gigantic black smokestack’ that would ruin the beauty of Paris.
4) Hitler ordered the demolition of the Tower
In 1944, when Hitler was about to lose Paris to the Allied forces, he ordered the whole city to be demolished, including the Tower. Thankfully, the military governor in charge did not follow through with this command!
Hitler posing in front of the Eiffel before it was cool.
5) The Eiffel Tower has a Bollywood connect
And no, we don’t mean films that have been shot there. One of the main engineers of the project, Maurice Koechlin, was related to Andre Koechlin, great-grandfather of Kalki Koechlin, the Bollywood actress!
6) Someone actually married the Eiffel Tower
No, Mrs. Eiffel is not the wife of the late engineer who built the tower. In fact, it’s an American named Erika Aya (or Erika Eiffel, as she prefers to be called) who actually married the Tower in a commitment ceremony in 2007! (She is said to have a condition called paraphilia, where people develop significant relationships with inanimate objects.)
7) It’s technically illegal to photograph the Eiffel Tower at night
The Tower lights up each hour at night and sparkles in what is called the Illumination Show. However, you could be fined for taking a picture of this and sharing it on Facebook, since the government claims that this light display is ‘art work’ and therefore, copyrighted.
8) The repainting of the Eiffel Tower is done by hand
Since its construction, the Eiffel Tower has been repainted 18 times and gone from red-brown to yellow to today’s bronze. Strictly traditional methods are followed while repainting the tower, which means it’s still done old-school, with a paintbrush and a bucket, and no mechanical painting is allowed.
9) There is an ice rink inside the Eiffel Tower
Opened only last year, this winter ice rink is functional during the peak winter, from December to February, and is built 200 feet off the ground, offering stunning views of Paris!
10) It’s the most visited paid tourist attraction in the world
The Eiffel Tower hosts about 6.9 million visitors each year, making I the most visited paid monument in the world!
Now if that doesn’t convince you to visit this bizarre, beloved, beautiful monument, nothing will! So, what are you waiting for? Share your own Eiffel Tower stories below!