The Eiffel Tower is a wrought-ironlattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.
Constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.
The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris. Its base is square, measuring 125 metres (410 ft) on each side. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. It was the first structure to reach a height of 300 metres. Due to the addition of a broadcasting aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Excluding transmitters, the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest free-standing structure in France after the Millau Viaduct. The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground – the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually accessible only by lift.
Eiffel Tower ticket costs vary wildly. Adults over the age of 25 willing to take the 704 stairs to the second floor pay 7 euros, those aged 12 to 24 years pay 5 euros, and children 4 to 11 pay 3 euros.
When originally built, the first level contained three restaurants — one French, one Russian and one Flemish — and an “Anglo-American Bar”. After the exposition closed, the Flemish restaurant was converted to a 250-seat theatre. A promenade 2.6-metre (8 ft 6 in) wide ran around the outside of the first level. At the top, there were laboratories for various experiments, and a small apartment reserved for Gustave Eiffel to entertain guests, which is now open to the public, complete with period decorations and lifelike mannequins of Eiffel and some of his notable guests.
In May 2016, an apartment was created on the first level to accommodate four competition winners during the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament in Paris in June. The apartment has a kitchen, two bedrooms, a lounge, and views of Paris landmarks including the Seine, the Sacre Coeur, and the Arc de Triomphe.
The arrangement of the lifts has been changed several times during the tower’s history. Given the elasticity of the cables and the time taken to align the cars with the landings, each lift, in normal service, takes an average of 8 minutes and 50 seconds to do the round trip, spending an average of 1 minute and 15 seconds at each level. The average journey time between levels is 1 minute. The original hydraulic mechanism is on public display in a small museum at the base of the east and west legs. Because the mechanism requires frequent lubrication and maintenance, public access is often restricted. The rope mechanism of the north tower can be seen as visitors exit the lift.
The tower is painted in three shades: lighter at the top, getting progressively darker towards the bottom to complement the Parisian sky. It was originally reddish brown; this changed in 1968 to a bronze colour known as “Eiffel Tower Brown”. The only non-structural elements are the four decorative grill-work arches, added in Sauvestre’s sketches, which served to make the tower look more substantial and to make a more impressive entrance to the exposition.
A pop-culture movie cliché 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 seven storeys, only a small number of tall buildings have a clear view of the tower.
The nearest Paris Métro station is Bir-Hakeim and the nearest RER station is Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel. The tower itself is located at the intersection of the quai Branly and the Pont d’Iéna.
Paris is home a number of architectural wonders, including beautiful chateaus and museums, but the Eiffel Tower is the most well-known of them all. List Eiffel Tower in your itinerary as it is an Iconic Establishment.