Anyone who has ever taken a trip to Paris knows they have to visit the Eiffel Tower. I remember well my first ever journey to this wonderful city and how excited I was when my father told me we were going to see it. Paris is so full of gorgeous architecture, gardens, grand avenues and of course La Seine, with the Rive Gauche and the Rive Droite being such well-known places that every visitors needs to see as well as experience. But the Eiffel Tower, well this is something that is exceptional!
Designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Expo of 1889, it was to be the highest man-made structure ever built in it’s day, and was certainly the largest exhibit at the show. The Eiffel Tower today, has to be considered as one of the most well recognised symbols that any capital in the world could possibly be associated with.
It is hard to believe that it nearly did not get built in the first place. This was because all the funding that Eiffel had depended on in order to construct his tower, did not appear. This meant he had to find the majority of the money himself which he did, but only on the condition that he retained total control of the tower and the profits it would make for the next two decades. The Exposition Committee agreed to his proposition which was to make him an incredibly wealthy man in the years to come.
Eiffel managed to pay off the tower in the first year after the exhibition and this same deal more than likely saved it from being taken down too. Many people thought the tower was ‘an abomination’ and that it represented the framework for a monument that was unfinished. It went against the grain and the thought that iron could be beautiful was considered to be outrageous.
For a long time it was argued that the Eiffel Tower should be taken down. A committee of Three Hundred was formed and as such a petition was drawn up for the abomination to be removed from the glorious architecturally splendid city of Paris. Many writers, painters, sculptors, architects and others signed this petition claiming that it was a ‘dishonour to Paris’ to keep it erected.
All the other iron buildings that were built especially for the Exposition in 1889 were indeed dismantled – but not the Eiffel Tower which today still stands as proudly as it did back then. Much admired by tourists from all over this globe, it has stood both the tests of certain people to have it removed as well as the tests time.
Today there are small souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower that are sold to millions of tourists every day. It has featured as the back drop for many romantic movies as well as photographs of couples who honeymoon in this wonderfully romantic European city. The world would be missing something very special if this tower had not survived and we have to thank a very clever individual who negotiated himself a deal that would guarantee it’s existence for the years to come. Today the Eiffel Tower is not just a tower – it is quintessentially Paris.