Essential Architecture-  Paris

Eiffel Tower (candidate for the new seven wonders of the world)


Gustave Eiffel


Avenue Gustave Eiffel, by the river Seine. Telephone 01-44-11-23-23 metro stations: (Trocadéro or Bir-Hakeim. RER: Champs-de-Mars - Tour-Eiffel (C) )


1887 to 1889


structural expressionist Victorian Industrial


steel 300 m (985 ft) tall.


tower built for 1889 World Exposition Monument
  Images copyright Tim Devlin.
The Tower at sunrise.
The Tower at sunrise.
The Eiffel Tower (French: Tour Eiffel) is an iron tower built on the Champ de Mars beside the River Seine in Paris. It is the tallest structure in Paris and among the most recognized symbols in the world. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, it is a premier tourist destination.


The Eiffel Tower in 1945.
View southeast from the tower, down the Champ de Mars, with the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) in the distance.
View southeast from the tower, down the Champ de Mars, with the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) in the distance.

The tower stands 300 m (986 ft) high, which is about 75 stories. Including the 24-m (72-ft) antenna, the structure is 324 m (1058 ft) high which is about 81 stories. At the time of its construction in 1889, the tower was the tallest structure in the world, a title it retained until 1930, when New York City's Chrysler Building (319 m/1046 ft tall) was completed (although the tower was still taller if the respective spires of the two structures were excluded). The tower is the second-highest structure in France, after the 350-m Allouis longwave transmitter, built in 1939. The Eiffel tower is the highest structure in Paris. The second-highest structure in Paris, and the fourth-highest in France, is the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower), at 209 m. The Montparnasse Tower is also famous among architects for being one of the few tall structures in the world that is perfectly vertical.

The metal structure of the Eiffel Tower weighs 7,300 tonnes, and the total weight is 10,100 tonnes. The number of steps to the summit has varied over the history of the tower, through various renovations: at the time of construction in 1889, there were 1710 steps to the summit platform at 300.65 m; after renovation in the early 1980s, there were 1920 steps; and today there are 1665 steps (although it is not possible for the public to reach the summit via the stairs—elevators are required beyond the second platform).

Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 8 cm (3.25 inches), due to expansion of the metal on the side facing the sun.

Maintenance of the tower includes applying 50 tonnes of three graded tones of paint every seven years to protect it from rust. On occasion, the colour of the paint is changed — the tower is currently painted a shade of brown. On the first floor, there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the colour to use for a future session of painting.

Paris seen from the Arc de Triomphe with the Eiffel Tower to the right.
Paris seen from the Arc de Triomphe with the Eiffel Tower to the right.


Eiffel Tower under construction in July 1888.

The Eiffel Tower from the Pont de la Concorde.
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. It is located at geographic coordinates 48°51′29″N, 2°17′40″E. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The risk of accident was great, for unlike modern skyscrapers the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. Yet because Eiffel took good care of his workers with movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died, during the installation of Otis Elevator's lifts.

The tower was met with resistance from the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore (Novelist Guy de Maupassant ate at a restaurant at the tower regularly, because it was the one place in Paris he was sure he wouldn't see it). Today, it is widely considered to be one of the most striking pieces of structural art in the world.

One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to a few stories, only the very few taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.

Originally, Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years(when ownership of it would revert to the City of Paris, who had originally planned to tear it down; part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily torn down), more than recouping his expenses, but as it later 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 of the Marne, and it therefore became a victory statue of that battle. It was also used to catch the infamous "Mata Hari," and after this, its demolition became unthinkable to the French population.


The lace-like iron detailing.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the tower has been used for radio transmission. Until the 1950s, an occasionally modified set of antenna wires ran from the summit to anchors on the Avenue de Suffren and Champ de Mars. They were connected to long-wave transmitters in small bunkers; in 1909, a permanent underground radio center was built near the south pillar and still exists today. Since 1957, the tower has been used for transmission of FM radio and television.

The tower has two restaurants: Altitude 95, on the first floor (95 m above sea level); and the Jules Verne, an expensive gastronomical restaurant on the second floor, with a private elevator. This restaurant has one star in the Michelin Red Guide.


Looking down from the top observation deck.

View from beneath the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower at night
Father Theodor Wulf in 1910 took observations of radiant energy radiating 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.

In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the tower for scrap.

In 1930, the tower lost the title of the world's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.

From 1925 to 1934, illuminated signs for Citroën adorned three of the tower's four sides, making it the tallest billboard in the world at the time.

Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though they were working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis. Soldiers had to climb all the way to the top to hoist the swastika from the top, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and they had to go back up again with a smaller one. Hitler chose to stay on the ground. 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. He disobeyed the order.

On 3 January 1956, a fire damaged the top of the tower.

In 1959 the present radio antenna was added to the top.

In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; it was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, known more recently as the Red Room.

In 2000, flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

The tower received its 200,000,000th guest on 28 November 2002.

At 7:20 p.m. on 22 July 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after 40 minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.

The 72 names
View to the northwest from the tower, across the River Seine, showing the Trocadéro gardens and the Palais de Chaillot. A pleasure boat cruises on the river.
View to the northwest from the tower, across the River Seine, showing the Trocadéro gardens and the Palais de Chaillot. A pleasure boat cruises on the river.
The names of 72 French scientists and engineers are engraved on the tower in recognition of their contributions. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the 20th century and restored in 1986 by SNTE ("Société Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel"), the company contracted by the City of Paris to operate the tower.

Image copyright

The Eiffel Tower is made from 18,038 pieces of puddled iron.
Images of the tower have long been in the public domain; however, in 2003 SNTE installed a new lighting display on the tower. The effect was to put any night-time image of the tower under copyright. As a result, it was no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission.

The imposition of copyright has been controversial. The Director of Documentation for SNTE, Stéphane Dieu, commented in January 2005, "It is really just a way to manage commercial use of the image, so that it isn't used in ways we don't approve." However, it also potentially has the effect of prohibiting tourist photographs of the tower at night from being published [1].

In a recent decision, the Court of Cassation ruled that copyright could not be claimed over images including a copyrighted building if the photograph encompassed a larger area. This seems to indicate that SNTE cannot claim copyright on photographs of Paris incorporating the lit tower.

Satellite view of the Eiffel Tower (Google Maps) 
Street map of the Eiffel Tower's location (GlobalGuide) 

In pop culture
As an instantly recognisable structure and landmark, the Eiffel Tower often appears in films and computer games as a target of attacks.

Eiffel Tower in pop culture

Imitations and reproductions
The tower and gardens.
The tower and gardens.
Many reproductions/models of the tower (often smaller-scale) exist.

Imitations (similar towers, not scale models)
In order of decreasing height:

Kiev TV Tower, Kiev, Ukraine - At 385 m, the world's tallest lattice tower, with no observation deck for visitors. 
Riga Radio and TV Tower, Riga, Latvia - 368.5 m concrete tower on three legs. 
Dragon Tower, Harbin - a 336 metre high lattice tower at Harbin, China. 
Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan - 9 m higher than the original (33 m if the TV antenna is included)). 
Yerevan TV Tower, Yerevan, Armenia - 311.7 m high lattice tower built from 1974 to 1977. 
St. Petersburg TV Tower, St. Petersburg, Russia - 310 m lattice tower without observation deck. 
Star Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio - 291.4 m transmission tower, without observation deck. 
Qingdao TV Tower, China - 232 m TV tower with observation deck. 
Crystal Palace Transmitter, London, England - 222 m TV tower without observation deck, nicknamed London's Eiffel Tower. 
Brasilia TV Tower, Brasilia, Brazil - 218 m lattice tower with an observation deck at a height of 75 m. 
Guangzhou TV Tower, Guangzhou, China - A 217 metre high TV tower of lattice steel. 
Guangdong TV Tower, Guangdong, China - A 200 metre high TV tower of lattice steel. 
Nagoya TV Tower, Nagoya, Japan - 180 m 
Odinstårnet, Odense, Denmark - A 177 metre high lattice tower, destroyed in 1944 
Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, England - 158 m (519 ft); it is not quite a free-standing structure as it stands above the Tower Circus complex, where the four "legs" can be seen. 
Mesquite Tower, Mesquite, Texas - 155.3 m transmission tower, without observation deck. 
Croydon Transmitter - A 152 metre high transmission tower in London, without observation deck 

Radio Tower Berlin, Berlin, Germany - 150 m transmission tower with observation deck. Sometimes nicknamed as a copy of the Eiffel Tower, although the two structures are not too similar. The Radio Tower Berlin is the only observation tower whose feet are insulated from the ground. 
Sapporo TV Tower, Sapporo, Japan - 147 m. 
Beppu Tower, Beppu, Japan - 100 m, [2]. 
Zendstation Zwollerkerspel - 90 m high radio tower. 
Tour métallique de Fourvière, Lyon, France - 85.7 m lattice tower built from 1892 to 1894. Used until 1953 as an observation tower, but is now a TV tower closed to visitors. 
Torre del Reformador, Guatemala City, Guatemala - 75 m. 
Brookmans Park Transmitter - two 60.96 metre high lattice towers, insulated against ground 
Petřínská rozhledna, Prague, Czech Republic - 60 m, built in 1891. 
Watkin's Tower, Wembley Park, London, England - never completed, demolished in 1907. 
Joseph's Cross, Stollberg/Harz, Germany - 38 m observation tower in form of a double cross. 
Lemberg Tower, Lemberg Mountain, Germany - 33 m observation tower of lattice steel, built in 1899 
Tour du Belvédère - a small observation tower in Mulhouse, Alsace, France. 
Woodwards Building, Vancouver, Canada - A small reproduction on the roof of the building is topped by a signature neon "W". This building is being converted into social housing. [3] 
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada

In order of decreasing height:

In front of the Paris Las Vegas hotel/casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Paradise, Nevada, near Las Vegas, Nevada - 165 m (540 ft, scale 1:2). [4] 
Shenzhen, China - ~100 m (~328 ft, scale 1:3) 
Paramount's Kings Island, Ohio - ~100 m (~328 ft, scale 1:3) 
Paramount's Kings Dominion, Virginia - 84 m (275 ft, scale 1:3.59) 
Slobozia, Romania - 54 m (177 ft) 
In Parizh, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Nagaybaksky District, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. Built by South Ural Cell Telephone company as a cellphone tower. - 50 m (164 ft) 
Fayetteville, North Carolina The Bordeaux Tower is about 150 feet featuring an elevator that takes people to the top for a small view. 
Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (at the France Pavilion in World Showcase) - 23 m (76 ft, scale 1:13) (information) 
Paris, Texas - 20 m (65 ft) 
As a Meccano model, housed at the Technology Museum of Georgia (Atlanta, Georgia). - 11 m (36 ft) [5] 
On a roof of an industrial building in Satteldorf, Germany -(height unknown) 
Centerpiece of the Falconcity of Wonders, a planned new development project in Dubai. UAE, featuring seven modern wonders of the world (planned). [6] 
Model in Paris, Tennessee, about 25 feet (7.6 m) tall. 
Model on the roof of the Rue De Paris cafe in Brisbane, Australia - (roughly 12 m tall) 
Model in indoor theme park in Genting Highlands, Malaysia 
Scale models
The Heller company sells an unassembled 1:650 scale plastic model of the Tower under reference 81201; it is about 49 cm (19 inches) tall when assembled.

Paper scale model by Paperlandmarks is 36 cm (14 inches) tall when assembled.

Frémy, Dominique, Quid de la Tour Eiffel, Robert Lafont, Paris (1989) - out of print