Infographic: 11 Facts About The Eiffel Tower We Bet You Didn’t Know
From 300 artists who protested the Iron Lady to the woman who married it and a secret apartment built under the peak, know all fun facts about the Eiffel Tower.
Inaugurated on March 31st, 1889 for World’s Fair, we want you to enjoy every minute you spend around the French Tower, discovering all that is there to know about its history, construction and many other interesting facts. Like for instance, you probably already know when Hitler was visiting Paris, the Eiffel Tower lift cables were cut off just so Hitler would have to climb all the way to the top, which he obviously didn’t! Surprised to have discovered this? Read on to know more such fun facts before you tour Europe with Getaway Goddess.
1. It Was Meant To Be Demolished – One Of The Facts About The Eiffel Tower That Shocks Us All
Constructed for the World’s Fair in 1889, the Eiffel Tower then was visible from everywhere in the city. Many Parisians signed a petition protesting the existence of the tower on the grounds of it being ‘useless and monstrous’, and assumed that the Eiffel Tower would fall over and demolish the symbolic buildings of the French capital. Guy de Maupassant, French Author and one of the protestors of the Eiffel Tower made it a point to have lunch every day at the café right at the base of the tower since that was the only place he could avoid looking at the tower.
2. Gustave Eiffel Built Himself A Secret Apartment – Now That’s Fantasy Coming To Life!
It obviously remained a secret for a very short time. Located on the third level of the tower, 1,000 ft. from the ground, the cozy apartment boasted of rustic wooden furniture, a huge piano and one of the best lab equipment of the day. He received endless offers to rent the apartment for as short a period of time as one night. Who wouldn’t at least try, right? However, the apartment wasn’t rented out to anybody. Eiffel usually hosted his fellow scientists at this apartment or conducted experiments in the lab attached to the apartment. The apartment is now open for visitors and it houses wax sculptures of Eiffel, his daughter and Thomas Edison.
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3. The Eiffel Tower Was Not Designed By Gustave Eiffel
The two engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier worked for Gustave Eiffel’s company who designed the tower and not Gustave himself.
Eiffel and Co.’s design competed with more than 100 submissions and it certainly helped that Gustave had designed a flexible metal skeleton for the Statue of Liberty, which keeps her standing to this day. The Eiffel tower was constructed to serve as the entrance to their 1889 World’s Fair grounds that marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The tower has engraved names of the engineers, mathematicians and scientists who contributed to its construction.
4. WWI Saved The Eiffel Tower
The tower was inaugurated during the 1889 World’s Fair and was meant to be up only for 20 years. Gustave didn’t want it demolished and gave the tower a new purpose by turning it into a huge radio antenna. The Tower’s height then became an asset during the WWI. It was used for radiotelegraph transmission that helped jam German communications, to dispatch emergency reinforcements, and even misguide the nemesis. In 1917, the antenna intercepted a coded message between Germany and Spain that had information about ‘Operative H-21’ who was the Dutch-born exotic dancer Margaretha Geertruida Zelle MacLeod with the stage name of Mata Hari who was then executed by the French for being the German spy. So, we could say the tower helped save France and WWI saved the Tower.
5. The Eiffel Tower Was Sold For Scrap. Twice.
Victor Lustig, a con artist, “sold” the tower for scrap on two separate occasions. As unbelievable as it may sound, Victor from America was infamous for his criminal career. His get-rich-quick schemes rocked during the Jazz-Era of America and used his audacious confidence game for selling the Eiffel Tower. Lustig attempted to sell it the second time only because his first victim was too ashamed to report his losses and Lustig wasn’t caught or punished. He was then captured in 1935 for masterminding a banknote operation for which he was sentenced to 20 years on Alcatraz.
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6. Can You Imagine The Eiffel Tower Being Yellow? Neither Can We!
Sadly but truly, the Eiffel Tower was once painted yellow. The tower wasn’t born with the perfect bronzed tan that we now get to witness, it has been repainted 18 times (happens every 7 years) since it’s inauguration. Few of the other colors the tower has worn include red, brown and ochre.
7. The Iron Lady Grows About 7 Inches Taller In Summer
The Iron Lady actually grows about 7 inches taller during summer and shrinks in winter. How is that possible? Well, the thermal expansion during summer causes the metal to grow. Owing to the heat absorption, the Eiffel Tower grows about 6.75 inches and during winter, thermal contraction results in shrinking the tower.
8. And The Top Of The Eiffel Tower Sways Along With The Wind
For someone who’s been at the 3rd level of the Eiffel Tower probably has experienced it. You can actually feel the tower swaying a few milimeters but that shouldn’t keep you from reaching the top. The 3rd level also houses flags of all the countries with their relative distance from the tower, including that of India’s.
9. 2 Marriage Proposals Are Made Here Every Day
The Le Jules Verne restaurant, located at level 2 of the Eiffel Tower, hosts an average of two marriage proposals per day. Now that’s setting the bar ‘figuratively’ high!
10. A Woman Married The Eiffel Tower
American archer Erika Labrie held a commitment ceremony with the Eiffel Tower in 2007, claiming it as her spouse and changing her name to Erika Eiffel. She became famous through her documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower.
11. The Iron Lady Is World’s Most Visited Paid Monument
It’s been nearly 130 years since this iconic structure was inaugurated for the 1889 World Fair in Paris and it still draws huge crowds from around the globe. It is now the most visited paid monument in the world with around 7 million visitors annually.
Now that you’re introduced to the fun facts about the Eiffel Tower, share them all with your gal-pals on your trip to Europe! Additionally, for women travellers, Europe is one of the best places for solo trips.Detailed Europe Itinerary
Here Are Some Safety Tips For Solo Female Travellers That May Come Handy While Touring Paris
If you’re a solo female traveller or have girlfriends who will be taking their first solo trip to Paris, these tips would help them get around the city of lights.
1. The Unofficial Dress Code
French women are more conservative compared to the other western countries. While wearing shorts and singlets would be the norm during summers in many countries, French women leave more for the imagination. If you’re touring Paris during the winter, it’s ideal to make use of that wine trench coat and knee-high boots lying at the top shelf of your wardrobe. It’s best to wear layers to avoid unnecessary attention from strangers.Browse here for the detailed itinerary
2. Avoid Charming Strangers
It’s quite usual to get more eye contact from men in France and you may encounter innocent flirtation with every interaction, just be prepared to excuse yourself in a hurry if you’re not comfortable with the banter. However good-looking they may be, it’s best to limit ourselves to romancing a French man in our heads.Europe Itinerary
3. Be Wary Of PickPockets
Pickpocketing is the most common crime in ParisTo keep your belongings safe, you’d have to keep your mind open to the world around you. Prefer using a zipped shoulder bag over a sling. You could be approached to sign a paper if you speak English or even be approached while you’re dining at a restaurant, avoid keeping your cell phones or your keypads on the table, back pockets or trench pockets. Try to be polite and walk away from the situation. It’s essential to have a travel insurance and if you choose to travel with Getaway Goddess, they get your travel insurance covered!
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4. Emergency Contacts For Solo Women Travellers
You can dial 17 for police and if you have been assaulted, dial 0 800 059 595, a toll-free number of France’s national rape crisis hotline, from any telephone. You could look for women-only associations online for Paris and note down their address on phone and on a paper that you can carry in your wallet and also in your luggage.
Don’t let these tips scare you from exploring the wondrous city of Paris, it’s a fairly safe city and all we want to convey is to be mindful and pay attention to your surroundings as you travel. We know of many women who travel solo to explore new destinations and meet like-minded women as they uncover one destination at a time.
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Leave us a line below if you have more facts about the Eiffel Tower to share or tips for solo women travellers. We’d love to add them to our article.
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