Here’s everything you didn’t know about the Eiffel Tower.
THE PARIS SKYLINE is famous for its, well, lack of skyline. Up until 2010, the City of Lights had a ban on how tall a new building could be, limiting most new structures to below 37 metres, or about 11 storeys. The rules have recently been relaxed, but the upward progress has been far from Dubai-like.
As a result, Parisians and tourists alike get the chance to enjoy an unobstructed, almost-archaic view of the city, with the Eiffel Tower standing as the dominant point, piercing the sky. Gleaming during the day, erupting into light in the evening.
Did you know these mind-blowing facts about the Eiffel Tower? The electricity bill is anything but
light. The monument certainly keeps the meter whirring; each year it costs approximately US$1.12 million. Each day, that’s a bill of $3074. All told, the tower has a total of 20,000 light bulbs lining the frame, and it takes about 22 megawatts of electricity per day to run. Gustave Eiffel DID NOT design it.
But one of his employees – engineer Maurice Koechlin – did. In fact, Eiffel rejected Koechlin’s original sketches, calling them too minimalist and
requesting a little more oomph. After approving Koechlin’s final design in 1884, Eiffel started shopping his company’s masterpiece around.
Spain didn’t want it. Eiffel originally pitched his tower to the city of Barcelona, Spain. They rejected it, worried it would be an unwieldy eyesore. Luckily, the (World’s) Fair was in town. It just so happened that Paris was looking for a monumental, 300-metre-tall archway to serve as the entrance to their 1889 World’s Fair grounds, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Eiffel and Co.’s design
was picked from among more than 100 competing submissions and construction began on January 28, 1887. Paris didn’t love the Tower at first.
Not everyone, at least. When Eiffel’s plans went public, 300 Paris luminaries signed a petition protesting the monolith’s construction, calling it “useless and monstrous”, a “stupefying folly”, and an “odious column of bolted metal”. Even after the monument was completed, writer Guy de Maupassant made a point to eat lunch every day at the café directly below it – the only spot in Paris where he could not see the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower instantly became
the world’s tallest building. Standing 300 metres high upon completion on March 15, 1889, the Eiffel Tower became the world’s tallest structure. It kept that honour for 41 years until 1930, when it was topped by New York’s 320-metre Chrysler Building. In 1957 an antenna added to the Eiffel Tower took it to 324 metres. It literally grows in the sunlight.
Due to thermal expansion, the Eiffel Tower can grow up to 15 centimetres taller on warm days, and lean several centimetres away from the sun.
It used to be yellow. The Eiffel Tower wasn’t born with that perfect bronzed tan; it has been repainted 18 times, roughly once every seven years (other colours the Tower has worn include red-brown, yellow-ochre, and chestnut brown). About 60 tonnes of paint is needed to cover its surface.
Now a Paris icon, the Eiffel Tower was originally meant to be a temporary structure