As one of the most iconic and recognized structures worldwide, it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t heard of the Eiffel Tower. It’s famous, its French and it symbolizes the city of Paris and all it stands for- romance, fashion, effortlessly chic and the City of Lights.
Today, La tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) is considered an irreplaceable part of Paris. As the most visited paid monument in the world, with millions of people ascending the tower each year, you may be surprised to know that it wasn’t always so well received.
The origins of the tower date back to the 1889 World’s Fair, hosted in Paris. To celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, two senior engineers at the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, were given the task of designing a structure to serve as a centerpiece for the festivities.
At the time, not everyone agreed to the decision to build the tower. Many artists and intellectuals felt that it would do nothing but destroy the “untouched beauty of Paris”. During that time, it was proposed to be that tallest man-made structure in the world, towering over other famous Parisian monuments an cultural sites such as the Notre Dame, Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome de les Invalides and the Arc de Triomphe.
Looking back, it’s possible that one can imagine how the Eiffel Tower may have appeared to be an ultra-modern “gigantic metal smokestack” compared decadent, delicately crafted structures.
In the end, the tower was built at the Champ de Mars and served as the entrance to the World’s Fair, where visitors would walk under it upon arrival. Even then, some were not convinced. Myth has it that French writer Guy de Maupassant would eat lunch in the Tower’s restaurant because it “was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible”.
Since it’s completion, the Tower has slowly gained more and more recognition, although lost the title as “world’s tallest building” many years ago. Today, it stands for the iconic symbol of Paris.
When I visited the Tower for the first time last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Going in the height of the tourist season meant that there would be huge crowds. I’ve also heard the tower isn’t as big as you would expect, so I didn’t expect to be blown away by any means.
In actuality, however, the Tower was spectacular. Though made of metal and bars, the lattice design created a delicate, artistic flow. I could really see what all the fuss is about.
Due to the huge crowds (and I mean like 20 tour buses were parked in front, not including the people that arrived on foot), we didn’t manage to make it inside for a tour. It was nice enough, however, to just walk along the grass, take a few photos and try to get the best view of the whole tower possible.
When planning a visit, I would definitely recommend checking out the Eiffel Tower website ahead of time to make the most of your time, for example, by looking at the peak vs. off peak waiting times as well as purchasing your tickets ahead of time.