Top 9 fun facts about the Eiffel Tower
*Originally published by Anna in April 2018 and updated by Arielle in November 2019
The Eiffel Tower is the most emblematic monument of the city of Paris. Millions of travelers from all over the world come to Paris every year to see the Iron Lady. It stands tall over the city. In fact, it is one of the most visited paid-for monuments in the world. Whenever one is at its feet, they become amazed by its impressive stature an beauty. Though it was originally intended for Barcelona, Spain, it was chosen to be built in Paris, and of course has become the symbol of France.
It took two years, two months and five days to build the tall iron structure, and it was inaugurated on March, 31st of 1889 for the 1889 World’s Fair.
For 41 years, the Eiffel Tower was taller than any other building or structure in the world—until it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York!
This structure is pretty unusual, and there is actually so much to learn about it! I won’t spoil all the history behind this monument, because I want you to enjoy every minute you’ll spend on the Eiffel Tower, discovering all there is to know about its construction, its history, and many other interesting facts!
For instance, you probably already know one of the fun facts about the Eiffel Tower: during the German occupation in Paris, Hitler came to visit the city. During his visit, the Eiffel Tower lift cables were cut so that if Hitler wanted to climb the tower, he would have had to climb all 1,665 stairs, which no one wants to do! He additionally ordered the whole city to be demolished, including the beloved Tower. Thankfully, the military commander in charge did not follow through!
If you want to know more funny stories like this one, read on this article and find out my top 9 fun facts about the Eiffel Tower!
Fun fact nº1 : It was meant to be demolished
The first fun fact about the Eiffel Tower I want to share with you is the fact that it was supposed to be demolished twenty years after its construction. As some of you know the Iron Lady was built for the 1889 World Fair. This fair was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Prise de la Bastille, “the storming of the Bastille”. This date will always be very important to the French, it is the fête nationale, it commemorates the beginning of the French revolution and the start of the french struggle for democracy.
So, the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated in 1889 and was only supposed to exist for twenty years. Moreover, the Parisians and artists of that time hated it, describing it as “useless and monstrous”! They even started a petition for the tower to be dismantled. Many artists protested strongly against it, calling it ‘a gigantic black smokestack’ that would ruin the beauty of Paris.
Gustave Eiffel did not want it to be destroyed, so he gave the tower a new purpose, and turned it into a huge radio antenna. The French military was then able to send and receive wireless messages. One can say the Eiffel Tower was of great value during WWI.
Fun fact nº2: Most Parisians haven’t climbed the tower
As you know, the Eiffel Tower is one of the greatest landmarks of Paris. It is one of the most-visited monument in the world, with 7 000 000 visitors per year! The 324 meters of height and 10,100 tons of weight do not scare the sightseers! But, you might be surprised with what I am about to tell you: most Parisians haven’t climbed the tower! Speaking for myself, I’ve lived in Paris for twenty years and I’ve never been to the top. It is probably due to the fact that we have the tower the whole year, so we feel like we can climb the Iron Lady whenever we want.
In some cases, if you ask a Parisian if they’ve been to the top of the Tour Eiffel, they might even laugh at such an outrageous question! Most Parisians try to avoid the most crowded monument in the world and tend to admire it from a distance.
There is a saying that goes, “you only know what you have when it is gone”. If you’re not afraid of heights, you should definitely go to the top while in Paris, because it is a one-time experience for most people, so seize the opportunity when you can! Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower in the next five years is definitely in my bucket list. Is it in yours?
Fun fact nº3: It was not designed by Gustave Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, whose company was in charge of the project. Gustave Eiffel did not design the famous iron structure. Instead, two engineers that worked for him in the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel did, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier. He did, however, designed the Statue of Liberty spine .
In recognition of the engineers, scientists and mathematicians who contributed to the construction of the tower, the names of these persons were engraved on the side of tower. 72 names, to be exact.
Fun fact nº4: The tower has be to repainted every seven years (by hand)
It takes a lot of work to maintain the Iron Lady all pretty and elegant! Sixty tonnes (or 60,000 kilograms) of paint are required to restore its sparkle and vibrancy! Moreover, all the painting work is done by hand and takes about eighteen months to be completed!
Fun fact nº5: The Iron Lady grows in the summer
Last but not least, the Iron Lady actually grows in the summer and shrinks in the winter. How incredible is that? During the warmer days, thermal expansion causes the metal to grow. Due to heat absorption, the tower can grow about seventeen centimeters, 6.75 inches. During the winter, it’s the opposite, thermal contraction happens. The extremely cold weather causes the tower to shrink by about six inches.
Fun fact nº6: The Eiffel Tower was used for the world’s largest advertisement
The famous French car manufacturer Citroen used the Eiffel tower as a giant billboard between the years of 1925 and 1934. They displayed the company’s name on the tower using nearly 250,000 light bulbs. The Guinness Book of Records even recorded as the world’s biggest advertisement!
Fun fact nº7: They Filmed a Music Video on the Eiffel Tower
French rap duo PNL became the firsts artists to record a music video atop the Eiffel Tower! They recorded the video for their hit song Au DD which came out in 2019, and the video has racked up over 126 million views.
Fun Fact nº8: Someone got Married to the Eiffel Tower
Think you love the Eiffel Tower? Well you probably don’t love it as much as one woman with an objects fetish. In 2007, a woman decided to get married to the tower and changed her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel. There was even a documentary made about her, called The Woman Who Married the Eiffel Tower. This is one of the weirder facts…
Fun fact nº9: The Eiffel Tower Sparkles for Five Minutes Every Hour after Sundown
The Tower also represents the magic of light . It’s lights and shine and inspire dreams every evening.There are 20,000 lightbulbs used on the Eiffel Tower to make it sparkle for five minutes on the hour every night! At 1:00am, after the last sparkle show, the lights shut off to preserve energy. It’s quite interesting to see the Eiffel Tower pitch black if your’e a night owl and able to see it at that hour.
Read more about some famous and super creative music videos filmed right here in Paris!
You now know my top 9 fun facts about the Eiffel Tower! When I find myself next to it, I feel so little. It kind of makes you think about what really matters in life, like how sometimes people “raise a storm in a teacup”!
My little self, next to this huge human construction, reminds me that one has to focus on bigger issues, focus on what really matters, and not to bother with the little troubles. Tell me how you will when next to the Eiffel Tower, share your thoughts!
And, if you also have some fun facts, feel free to comment about them! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything.
See you very soon in Paris!