The Eiffel Tower in Paris was built by Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer specialized in revolutionary steel constructions, at the occasion of the 1889 world exhibition. The tower originally had no practical use. The intent was just to demonstrate the capabilities of modern engineering. A daring engineer's dream, the Eiffel Tower weighs 7000 tons, but the pressure it applies on the ground is only equivalent to that of a chair with a man seated on it! Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed separately to give them exactly the shape needed. All pieces were prefabricated and fit together using approx. 7 million nails.
The Eiffel Tower caused a fierce polemic, meeting nearly unanimous hostility from the Parisian artistic world. Once the Tower was finished the criticism burnt itself out in the presence of the completed masterpiece, and in the light of the enormous popular success with which it was greeted. It received two million visitors during the World's Fair of 1889.
With its 300 meters, it remained the world highest building until the construction of the Chrysler building in New York City in 1929. Now 320 meters high with its television antennas, it still incredibly towers above Paris, a city almost free from skyscrapers. Open air elevators bring you up to the first (57 meters high), the second (115 meters high) and the third level (276 meters high). Each one provides different and interesting views of Paris and the surrounding Ile de France region.
On the ground: The machinery of the 1899 elevator. Every visitor with a ticket to visit the monument can watch the machinery of the corresponding elevator in operation in the East and West pillars. This voyage underground, in an atmosphere which evokes Jules Verne, lets you discover the imposing hydraulic machines designed by Gustave Eiffel. This machinery is still used after being restored and computerized.
First level: 58 meters. Observatory from which to study the movements of the Eiffel Tower's summit. Kiosk presentation about the mythic painting of the Eiffel Tower.
Space Cineiffel: offers an exceptional panorama of sights from the Tower. Souvenir shops. Restaurant. Post office, with special stamps "Paris Eiffel Tower ".
Second level: 115.73 meters (379 feet, 8 inches). Panorama of Paris. Telescopes, shops. Animated displays on the operation of the elevators. Jules Verne Restaurant (extremely expensive, reservations absolutely necessary; phone 33 1 45 55 61 44).
Third level: 276.13 meters (905 feet, 11 inches). Exceptional panoramic views, day or night, of Paris and its surroundings. Recently restored office of Gustave Eiffel, showing him welcoming Thomas Edison. Panoramic guide displays to aid orientation. Dioramas presenting the history of this platform.
Consistently modern, the Eiffel Tower makes a special effort to surprise visitors. Do not miss the latest futurist, interactive attraction — the Eiffel Tower Visitors Galaxy — where you take part in the construction of a virtual Eiffel Tower which you can recover later on the Internet. In conjunction with the Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, the Tower offers groups a series of conference tours, highlighting the history of the monument in its time, its contribution to modern metal architecture, and all the scientific and technical applications experimented on the Tower.