Eiffel Tower

Blog entry created by: Teresa

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We were the 2,048,749,362nd 3rd 4th 5th and 6th visitors (approximately) to the world’s most visited paid monument…

Traveler’s tip- don’t wait in the huge lines to go up in the elevator from the bottom.  Take the stairs! - there is almost no line at all – and then take the elevator from the second level.  Even though we were tired from site seeing and Jennifer and Bella are sometimes bothered by heights, we all enjoyed taking the stairs.  They are enclosed enough that they are not that scary and we were happy to notice that the exercise we are getting each day is paying off and we could climb a long distance with relative ease :-)  Also, just when you start to get tired, you reach the next level and get to take a break and see the awesome view.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on your point of view), the stairs from the second level to the top are no longer open to the public, but you can buy a ticket on the second level for the elevator…again with almost no line. Climbing part of the way is cheaper, too!

The elevator to the top was the most thrilling part because you go pretty fast and you can see the guts of the Tower better than you can when you are at the top.  We rode the elevator all the way down – you don’t need a ticket for that – and that was neat also because the elevator goes diagonally at the bottom.

Trivia: Do you think Gustave Eiffel was the architect? Think again.  Why was there a plan to tear down the tower? How many rivets were used? Has the tower been used for military purposes? Which sport can be performed in the Eiffel Tower each winter? What scientific experiment was conducted on the tower in 1910?

Read the answers and more interesting facts courtesy of www.eiffel-tower.us, www.tour-eiffel.fr and Wikipedia below:

Why the tower was built, its construction and why it was not torn down as originally planned:

The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces ofpuddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The co-architects of the Eiffel Tower were Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre. The risk of accident was great as, unlike modern skyscrapers, the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May.

The tower was much criticized by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris.

Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne.

Hitler did not conquer The Eiffel Tower:

Upon the German occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. In 1940 German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one. When visiting Paris, Hitler chose to stay on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.

What scientific experiment was performed on the tower in 1910?

Father Theodor Wulf measured radiant energy at the top and bottom of the tower, discovering at the top more than was expected, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.

The Tower that keeps on giving…

By the end of its first year 1889, visits to the new tower had paid for 75% of its construction costs and according to annual statistics, in 2005, for an example, the City netted almost 6 Million Euros from the Tower.

Parachuting from the tower – not a good idea:

Austrian tailor Franz Reichelt died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck of Eiffel tower with his home-made parachute.

Bungee jumping – a better idea!

In 1987, A.J. Hackett made one of his first bungee jumps from the top of the Eiffel Tower, using a special cord he had helped develop. Hackett was arrested by the Paris police upon reaching the ground.  A few years later, Thierry Devaux, along with mountain guide Hervé Calvayrac, performed a series of acrobatic figures of bungee jump (not allowed) from the second floor of the Tower.  They completed 6 jumps before firemen came to stop them.

A sport that is allowed on the Eiffel Tower:

In 2004, they began opening an ice skating rink each winter on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.

What is the Eiffel Tower made of and how much does it weigh?

It is made of 2.5 million rivets, 15,000 pieces of iron and 40 tons of paint. The main component of the Eiffel tower is iron. The Eiffel tower weighs approximately 10,000 tons in total with 7,300 tons of the metal.

How tall is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is 984-990 feet (324 meters) tall, depending on temperature) or as tall as 108 story building.  There are 1,665 steps to the top. The tower lost the title of the world’s tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.

Does the Eiffel Tower have paint? How often is it applied?

The Eiffel Tower does have paint. It is recoated every 7 years. It takes 25 painters 15 months to apply 60 tons of paint using only brushes.  The current color is a grayish brown, but there are survey kiosks on the first floor where visitors can vote on the next color.

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Posted on: September 2, 2010 | Categories: France, Fun Facts - Cultures and Countries, History, Trivia Questions



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