Paris Tourist Attractions - The Eiffel Tower

The iconic Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower -- Le Tour Eiffel -- was built for the International Exhibition of 1889 which commemorated the centenary of the French Revolution. The opening honours were performed by no less a dignatory than the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England.

Of the 700 proposals submitted in the associated design competition, Gustave Eiffel's was unanimously chosen. However, not all were pleased with the plan for this radical construction which some viewed as a blight upon their city, and a petition of 300 names - including those of Maupassant, Emile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opéra Garnier), and Dumas the Younger – protested against the edifice.

But despite the protests and harsh criticisms of the French intellectuals during its construction, the metal structure has become today the symbol of Paris, attracting over 6 million visitors each year.

Construction began in 1887 and finished 26 months later in 1889. It was at this time the tallest building in the World and remained so until 1929 when the Chrysler Building in New York surpassed it in height. The metal tower was, in the first place intended only to be a temporary structure that was due to be demolished when the Universal Exhibition had finished. However, fate was to play a part in saving the great tower. The French military used the tower to test radio transmissions, and arising from the positive results it was saved from destruction. It proved so ideal as a location for broadcast transmissions, that now it is the television transmitter for the greater Paris region.

To create this masterpiece of industrial art, over 18,000 pieces of steel were fastened together by two and a half million rivets. Of the 300 steel workers who were employed in its construction, only one worker lost his life -- a remarkable statistic given the scale of the enterprise and the era when this took place.

The tower itself has 3 floors with an ascending vantage point to view the city, but all of them will afford you marvelous views over Paris even if you decide not to go right up to the top. One of the floors has an excellent restaurant, affording you the opportunity to dine in what must certainly be one of the World’s most exhilarating settings.

Inevitably, because of its popularity, large numbers come to visit daily and the queues can sometimes be daunting. If you can, try and plan your visit for later in the evening when you will spend less time in the queue and, while you wait, have the benefit of enjoying the Eiffel Tower’s memorable light display.

A highlight of every visitor’s memory of Paris, Le Tour Eiffel, which at its inception suffered so much hostility and derision, has in the present time come to be the most familiarly recognized symbol of Paris and the French. An emblematic structure of inspired genius, it was built to impress, and it certainly succeeded.

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Paris tips:Visit Arc de Triomphe, Visit Champs Elysees, Visit Sacre Coeur, Visit Notre Dame ,Getting Around Paris

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