.All Trips / Europe / France

Gustave Eiffel, Iron Man of Paris

Eiffel #5

”Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles- BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. ”

– John Collins, IRONMAN Founder

 We’re all familiar with the famous Ironman race, whose amazing challenges are outlined above in the quote by John Collins.  Only rare and talented individuals have what it takes to be an Ironman.

Today I want to discuss a different Iron Man — someone whose accomplishments are monumental and they are all crafted of iron.  A friend, PHeymont, in a recent blog post, highlighted the pragmatic but beautiful work of Gustave Eiffel around the globe.  I recommend you read his article, which made me think more about Eiffel’s great influence and vision.  Eiffel was obviously a brilliant engineer and builder, and while his works range from bridges to buildings to monuments (like the skeleton of the Statue of Liberty), there’s no work he created more compelling the Eiffel Tower.  His crowning achievement.

The tower was built for the Paris Universal Expo in 1889, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and a reminder of France’s wealth and world superpower status.  Eiffel was involved in all aspects of the creation and crafting of the Eiffel Tower, from designing it, making its iron beams in his factory, financing it and building it.   When completed the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.  Original plans were for it to be dismantled after the Expo had run it’s course, but thankfully it’s demolition was stopped by popular demand.

Eiffel Tower lite up at night

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in the world.  Some basic facts:

–  It is 1063 ft (324 m) high, with three visitation platforms.

– It contains 7,300 tons (18,000 beams) of steel and 2,500,000 rivets

– It’s covered in 60 tons of paint.

– Its four weight bearing pillars cover 3.5 acres.

When in Paris, it’s hard to get away the Tower — so does it dominate the city.  From many parts of Paris you can see it standing tall and majestic, announcing to the world of the 19th century and beyond the great engineering and construction achievements the French were capable of.  I’m hard pressed to think of any other city where a single structure so dominates its landscape as Paris and its Eiffel Tower.  Perhaps the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. or CN Tower in Toronto, but they’re not quite in the same league.

I wanted to share with you a series of photos from Paris showing the Eiffel Tower from different perspectives.  A sort of Eiffel Tour of Paris (pardon the bad pun).  Enjoy!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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