The Eiffel Tower and centrepiece of Paris is recognized and loved around the world. Every year 7 million people flock to the iron arches to look up at one of the world’s most iconic structures. In addition to making great selfies and postcards, the Eiffel Tower has some pretty interesting tidbits. From German radio interference to secret residences, here are seven things you didn’t know about the Eiffel Tower.
Things You Didn’t Know About The Eiffel Tower
1. It Marked The 100th Anniversary of the French Revolution
The Eiffel Tower was built as an entrance to the 1889 World Fair. To commemorate the 100th anniversary since the French Revolution, Paris was the host. How fitting that a structure to mark one of France’s most significant moments in history is now a monument recognized around the world.
2. It Shrinks! (And Grows)
The Iron Lady grows six inches in the summer and shrinks 6 inches in the winter. At the time of its completion, the Tower sat at 985 feet. This height remains the same except in winter when it shrinks around 6 inches. This is because, in the warmer seasons, thermal expansion causes the metal to ‘grow’ and in the winter, cold temperatures cause thermal contraction.
3. Parisians Hated It
It’s true. Many Parisians loathed the new structure and thought it was very tacky. In fact, novelist Guy de Maupassant, ate lunch in its restaurant every day. Why? It was the only place in the city he couldn’t see the Tower. In addition to this, Alexandre Dumas Jr. and hundreds of others sent a petition to the government to have it removed. Thankfully their protest was fruitless.
4. It Was Supposed To Stand For 20 Years
At the time of its completion in 1889, it was scheduled for deconstruction just 20 years later in 1909. Fortunately, it was realised that the Tower could actually double as a radio tower. This wound up helping the French Military greatly, especially in World War One when they utilised it to jam German communication. Today there are over 100 antennae on the Tower that send radio broadcasts all around the globe.
5. The Tower Was Closed During German Occupation
French Resistance fighters cleverly cut the cables to the lifts on the Eiffel Tower during the German occupation. This was so Nazi officers and soldiers would be forced to climb the stairs to raise their flag. Around this time, Hitler ordered the Tower and the majority of the city to be destroyed. Thankfully his order was never carried out.
6. There’s A Secret Apartment At The Top
When Gustav Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower, he included a private apartment at the top. Here, he hosted all sorts of famous guests such as Thomas Edison and was quite the envy of Parisians. People were constantly offering large sums of money to rent out the space even for a day with no luck.
7. It Is Repainted Every Seven Years
Every seven years, the Iron Lady gets a new coat of paint to freshen up. This requires not 40, not 50, but 60 tons of paint and a lot of skill. The team of painters need around 18 months to complete the job and keep her from rusting.