Paris A to Z: E is for…

E is for the Eiffel Tower!

Could E really stand for anything else? Look at the beauty of this piece of architecture that was at one time reviled by all the artists in Paris. A committee of 300 (one member for each step) formed and sent a scathing letter of protest to the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, and was published by the newspaper Le Temps. 

“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection…of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years…we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal” 

 

Quick Facts

Location: Champs de Mars

Named After: Gustave Eiffel

Opened in 1889 at the entrance arc for the 1889 World’s Fair. It is now one of the world’s most recognizable icons, along with the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben and many others.

This is one of my favorite postcards of the Eiffel Tower. Can you imagine what life must have been like watching this tower being built over the course of 2 years? Its like seeing only the feet of the Statue of Liberty, or just her torso. Incomplete, amazing, and mystifying.

File:Construction of the Eiffel Tower.JPG

The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by staircase or by elevator, to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift—stairs do exist but are usually closed to the public. The views from the second level are wonderful, albeit, the city looks ridiculously tiny. The view from the Arc de Triomphe gives a much more intimate view of the city, especially of the grand boulevards designed by Baron Haussmann. But there is something amazing about the Eiffel Tower. Our hotel was walking distance from the tower. Just walking around the city, you see glimpses of it poking above, beside or around different buildings. Its presence is so…serene and reliable. You may get lost in Paris, but wherever you are, the Eiffel Tower is right there watching over you.

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2 responses to “Paris A to Z: E is for…

  1. The best parts of the novel Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, for me, were about building the Eiffel Tower.

    • I’ll have to add that to my list! I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Eiffel Tower, especially since it stirred up so much controversy when it was first built.

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