It has become France’s most famous structure, the queen of Paris’ skyline, but the Eiffel Tower wasn’t popular when she was first conceived. Built by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, the wrought-iron tower was meant to be a temporary structure during the 1889 World’s Fair, but throughout that summer the public became enchanted. As we celebrate its 130th anniversary this March, here are a few towering facts.
At 300 metres, it was the world’s tallest structure when it was built until the Chrysler Building opened in New York City in 1930. Antennas were later added to the Eiffel Tower, making it 324-metres tall.
First floor: 57 metres
Second floor: 115 metres
Third floor: 276 metres
The complete tower was put together using 2.5 million rivets joining 18,038 iron parts and weighs 10,100 tonnes—that’s the same weight as nearly 660 million macarons.
The highest level is home to a two-storey observation space—one inside and one outside—a champagne bar and Gustave Eiffel’s former office, which has been restored and is open to the public.
The tower has seven elevators used for guests, staff and maintenance. Each year, the elevators travel more than 103,000 kilometres, or two-and-half times around the world.
Almost 7 million people visit the tower each year; an estimated 300 million have visited since it opened on March 31, 1889.
[This story appears in the January 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]