90+ Eiffel and Eiffel Tower facts
Part 3 of a 3 part series
Part 1 facts 1 through 35
Part 2 facts 36 through 72
“Je vais être jaloux de cette tour. Elle est plus célèbre que moi.” – Gustave Eiffel
- Beginning in 1997, 1000 days before turning of the millennium the Eiffel Tower began the countdown to the year 2000 when a giant fireworks display was put on.
- The first “coloring” of the tower was for the Chinese new year in 2004 when the lights were a scarlet red. The tower has since been blue, green and many other colors commemorating different anniversaries or events.
- The Eiffel Tower is stuck by lightening quite frequently, but it is hard to capture a photo. Parisian Bertrand Kulik has done it several times.
- There is an underground bunker which was, during WWII, the most carefully protected spot in Paris. This is where the radio operators received the messages received from the antennas via wires that ran down the south pillar. Today the bunker is used as as pantry for the restaurants.
- The tower is very light. The deadweight of 4kg per square centimeter (pressure on the ground) is the same as the deadweight of one person.
- If the tower were melted into the ground space of each pillar the thickness of the layer would be just 8 centimeters.
- The elevators of the east and west pillars are still original hydraulic elevators. They are amongst the oldest elevators in the world. Pumps push water into reservoirs, the pressurized water works pistons, which in turn work weights that action pulleys from which the cables lift the elevator cars.
- 1948: the director of the Bouglione circus led the oldest elephant in the world up the stairs to the first floor. The elephant was 85 years old.
- In 1983 metal staircases were taken out of the tower and cut into 20 pieces which were sold in auctions. The stairs often reappear in auctions. The stairs were judged too dangerous and thus were removed. One remains displayed at the tower on the first floor.
- The 100 millionth visitor to the tower was a French woman. Jacqueline Drouillot arrived 9 September 1983, at 10:30. French singer Mireille Mathieu was on hand to give her a prize of a Citroen BX car.
- 1977: Arnold Palmer did several drives off the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Because of the wind the balls didn’t go very far and landed on the Champ de Mars. He tried again the next year.
- The tower has been seen in many films, here are a few:
- “From Paris with Love” by Pierre Morel
- “Adèle Blanc-Sec” by Luc Besson
- “Zazie dans le métro” by Louis Malle
- “The Divorce” by James Ivory
- “Paris qui dort” a silent film by René Clair
- “Funny Face” by Stanley Donan
- The “3 Tenors” concert in 1998 included José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti and 200,000 spectators but French icon Johnny Hallyday broke all the records in June 2000 with 600,000 spectators for his 40th anniversary concert and fireworks. An album called 100 % Johnny : Live à la Tour Eiffel was also made.
- A tallest thermometer in the world – 160 meters – was on the tower in 1934.
- A ballet with Maurice Chevalier, Zizi Jeanmaire and Marcel Marceau was filmed on the top of the tower in 1963. This was the first time these three artists performed together.
- The city of Paris has decided to construct a 3 meter tall protection wall around the base of the tower. The wall has been designed by the architect Dietmar Feichtinger who also designed the Simone de Beauvoir footbridge and the access bridge to Mont Saint Michel. The wall will be of extra transparent glass on the sides facing the Seine and the Champ de Mars, but more of a fence on the two side. The fence design includes an over lapping mesh of Eiffel Towers.
- Gustave Eiffel is buried in the Levallois-Perret cemetery.
- For the 75th anniversary of the tower 75 Parisians of 75 years old were invited for lunch. The most famous was Maurice Chevalier.
- 1969 : A bear from the Moscow Circus skated on the rink on the first floor.
- The elevators pistons are greased with pig or ox fat mixed with hemp fiber. Meet the man who takes care of this age old machinery.
- Some things don’t change : the 150 millionth visitor who arrived in 1993 was French and was given a new car !
- Thomas Edison and Buffalo Bill visited the tower during the first year.
- On a clear day you can see 67 kilometers from the top of the tower. The clearest view is one hour before sun down.
- A bust of Gustave Eiffel by Antoine Bourdelle was installed in 1930 at the foot of the north pillar.
- You can book a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower and visit areas behind the scenes such as the original machinery room which still operates the lifts, the former “bunker” concealed underneath the Champ de Mars, and the roof of the gastronomic restaurant “Le Jules Verne”.
- The miniature Eiffel Tower key chain is the #1 best selling souvenir of the 600,000 ET items sold each year.
- The Eiffel Tower is owned by the city of Paris, but the image has been in the public domain since 1993 – 70 years after Gustave Eiffel’s death.
- The Eiffel Tower has 330 employees.
- A few books :
- Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes, Pengiun Books
- La Tour de Jill Jonnes, Editions Cherche-Midi
- The Eiffel Tower, and Other Mythologies, Roland Barthes
for young readers
- L’exploit de Gustave Eiffel de Hélène Montardre, Editions Nathan
- La tour Eiffel se balade à Paris de Mymi Doinet et Mélanie Roubineau, Editions Nathan
- And a few legends for good measure:
There are 2 marriage proposals each day at the Restaurant Jules Verne
Guy de Maupassant ate in the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower each day saying it was the only place where he could have a view over Paris and not see the tower he disliked so much.
The old pieces removed from the Tower each time one is worn out by the elements – more than 40,000 now – are all in a warehouse outside of Paris because the tower was a gift to the city who then promised that it would not sell or dispose of any part. Apparently they take this literally!
“La France sera la seule nation dont le drapeau aura une hampe de 300 mètres.” – Gustave Eiffel
Want to know still more about the Eiffel Tower? Visit the official website !