Top 10 Secrets of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Eiffel Tower

People mostly visit Paris for it’s cheese, wine and the romance in the air and then they visit Eiffel Tower to update social boards with recently taken pictures of Eiffel Tower and their own selfies, But the Eiffel Tower is actually full of amazing little finds if you look closely enough.

The Eiffel Tower  is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structurein the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Not including broadcast aerials, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground, the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is generally only accessible by lift. [Source]

1. There’s An Industrial Chimney with a Medieval Turret

There’s An Industrial Chimney with a Medieval Turret

This brick chimney is hidden amidst the trees just near the West Pillar along Quai Branley. It’s older than the Eiffel Tower, built to assist the construction efforts. The chimney was constructed for the machine room below the South Pillar.

2. There’s An Apartment in the Eiffel Tower

There’s An Apartment in the Eiffel Tower

Within a year of the completion of the Eiffel Tower, it was reported by writer Henri Girard that Gustav Eiffel “the object of general envy.” But it wasn’t for his engineering and design feat, it was for an apartment he had at the third-to-highest level of the Eiffel Tower. Girard wrote that the famous apartment was “furnished in the simple style dear to scientists.

Eiffel used mostly for meeting important guests like Thomas Edison, who visited in September 1889, rather than for debaucherous parties. Here is a lovely essay on the apartment, describing how the apartment embodied many of the philosophical dreams of 19th century thinkers. Today it also contains mannequins of Eiffel and Edison.

3. There’s a Post Office in the Eiffel Tower

eiffelpost

Send a postcard from La Poste and it gets stamped with an Eiffel Tower postmark! The post office is located on the first floor.

4. There’s a Military Bunker Underneath the Eiffel Tower

There’s a Military Bunker Underneath the Eiffel Tower

Below the South Pillar is a former military bunker! It connects to existing military tunnels, but the bunker itself today is used as a mini museum open to small tour groups.

5. Don’t Miss the Overlooked English Romantic Period Gardens

English Romantic Period Gardens

Two picturesque parks with Romantic Period landscaping–meandering pond, rocky crags, lush greenery, quaint bridges and weeping willows–are right next to the pillars and woefully overlooked.

6. Cafe La Bonbonnière de Marie

Cafe La Bonbonnière de Marie

This little outdoor cafe with red and white checkered table cloths is a Parisian “secret.” Grab a leisurely drink, crepe or ice cream, or pizza and salads for lunch.  There’s a carousel, playground and sandbox just near by so it has the pleasant air of happy children.

7.  There Are Names on the Eiffel Tower

There Are Names on the Eiffel Tower

Thanks to restoration on the Eiffel Tower, the engraved names of 72 French scientists and engineers from the original design are visible again. Most of the scientists were active during the French Revolution and the early 19th century.  The engravings were covered over in the early 20th century and restored for the first time in 1986-1987, and again last in 2010. More details here.

8. There Are Vintage Spiral Staircases, No Longer Used By The Public

There Are Vintage Spiral Staircases, No Longer Used By The Public

Visitors to the Eiffel Tower now use a different exterior staircase, but you can still see the original spiral staircase, encased in glass.

9. Bus Hideout

Ever wonder why you don’t see buses near the Eiffel Tower? They’re cleverly concealed along the banks of the Seine River.

10. The Tower Was Supposed to Be Torn Down After 20 Years

Like many architectural gems built for World’s Fairs, the Eiffel Tower wasn’t intended to be a permanent structure. A plaque in the military bunker states that since Eiffel knew he needed to attach functional uses to the tower, he allowed it to be used for many experimental, scientific purposes. Wireless transmission turned out to be the key, and the Eiffel Tower became the site of the first radiotelegraph broadcasts.

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