/ / 27 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower In Paris You Probably Didn’t Know

27 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower In Paris You Probably Didn’t Know

Want to learn more about the Iron Lady? This post will give you all the fun facts about the Eiffel Tower you probably didn’t know before!

The Eiffel Tower or La Tour Eiffel in French is one of the most iconic monuments of France and the world. It has mesmerized and captured everyone’s attention since its construction in 1889.

Paris is recognized as the City of Love and, by extension, the Eiffel Tower is considered one of the most romantic attractions in the city.

It is one of the Parisian landmarks that people fly from across the world to come and see at least once in their lifetime and it has also become one of the most popular proposal sites in the world.

Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement of Paris

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However, before it became the sensation it is today, it was considered ugly by Parisians who deemed it unfit among the city’s historical buildings, and its lifespan was meant to be only 20 years.

But as its fame grew, it was decided that it would be permanent and as a Francophile, I couldn’t be any happier.

If you want to know some interesting information about this famous attraction, here are 27 fun facts about the Eiffel Tower in Paris that you probably didn’t know.

Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips

WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)  

Fun Facts About the Eiffel Tower

It may not be a world wonder but it is a wonder of Paris nonetheless, one that houses a few interesting anecdotes within its pillars.

To learn more about it, here are some of the interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower from its reason for construction to historical events.

Views of the Eiffel Tower from Passerelle Debilly
Views of the Eiffel Tower from Passerelle Debilly

1. It’s the most visited paid tourist attraction in the world

About 7 million people visit La Tour Eiffel each year making it the most visited paid attraction in the world.

Since its opening, a whopping 300 million visitors have been to this tourist attraction.

This is not counting the people who sit at Champ de Mars admiring it and the countless others who take photos with it as a backdrop from various Parisian streets, alleys, and rooftops but rather those who climb to its various floor to admire the beauty of Paris from above.

With those figures, it takes the crown of the most visited PAID tourist attraction worldwide.

If you also want to add to those figures, you can book this Eiffel Tower entry ticket to climb to its summit and take in the stunning views of Paris. Alternatively, you can opt for this Eiffel Tower guided tour to learn more about its magnificent history from a friendly tour guide.

You can also check out my recommended tours and activities in Paris in the widget below all offered by my favorite tour provider GetYourGuide.

2. The Eiffel Tower was Initially meant to be temporary

One of the surprising yet interesting Eiffel Tower facts most people don’t know is that it was initially meant to be temporary.

To commemorate 100 years of the French Revolution, Paris was set to host the Exposition Universelle or World’s Fair in 1889 and the Eiffel Tower was built to mark this occasion.

It was to be dismantled after 20 years in 1909. Then, the French realized that the antenna added at the top by Gustave Eiffel could be used for wireless communication.

In fact, this antenna helped the French immensely during World War I by jamming German signals. Post that, it has been used for radio and TV broadcasts.

Related post: Fun facts About Paris

Trocadéro Gardens is one of the best parks to visit in Paris.
Eiffel Tower view from Trocadero Gardens

3. The Eiffel Tower Was Once Sold

One of the unbelievable facts about the Eiffel Tower is that it was once sold! Yes, you read that right.

A con artist named Victor Lustig will forever go down in history as the man who sold the Eiffel Tower not once but twice. This is quite an interesting story you need to read.

So how does one go about selling the Eiffel Tower? In 1925, Lustig found himself in Paris and luckily landed on a newspaper that mentioned that the Eiffel Tower was in ruins and the government didn’t have enough funds to maintain it.

As a smart con artist, he knew this was his next con! He forged documents showing that he was a government official and all the necessary documents he would need to pull off this con.

He met with a group of scrap metal dealers and convinced them that the government was ready to sell the Eiffel Tower as scrap and since they didn’t want the public to know of this arrangement, he was chosen to oversee the sale.

Several metal dealers listened and believed his arguments. Still, he landed on one of them — André Poisson, who seemed like easy prey as he was insecure about his position and he wanted to prove that he deserved to be among the respectable people of Paris.

The deal was successful and Poisson paid the amount Lustig was asking for the Eiffel Tower and an extra as a bribe to make sure he was the chosen one! After the con, Lustig fled France for Austria.

During this time, he kept checking the newspapers to see if Poisson had reported the scam but since he knew Poisson would be embarrassed for the world to know that he fell for such a scam, the crime was never reported.

After a few months, Lustig decided to come back to France to run the same con but this time the police were alerted. He didn’t wait to be captured so fled to the US.

Related Post: Interesting Facts About Sacre Coeur

fun facts about the Eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower design — Gustave Eiffel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Gustave Eiffel technically did NOT design the Eiffel Tower

Although his namesake, the Eiffel Tower, was NOT ACTUALLY designed by Gustave Eiffel himself.

His company was the one awarded with the charge of the design and construction of the Tower.

Gustave, who put in the most investment, in turn, entrusted this task to two of his senior engineers, Maurice Koechlin, whom he trusted a lot and worked with frequently, and Emile Nouguier and architect Stephen Sauvestre.

The 2 engineers were inspired by a 19th-century bridge design used to build this monument but since Gustave Eiffel was in charge of its construction, it was named after him and not Emile Nouguier who came up with the very first design of the tower which he had named 300-Meter-Tall Pylon.

5. The amount of metal and labor used was a lot

This might sound like an obvious fact given the size of the Eiffel Tower, but do you know roughly how much material and labor were involved?

Here’s an insight! 7,000+ metric tons of puddling iron were used to produce 18,000 pieces of wrought iron that make up the structure.

In addition, millions of rivets, nuts, bolts, and tons of paint were also used. All this involved 300+ steelworkers working tirelessly to give us this landmark.

Related post: Interesting Facts About the Louvre Museum

6. The Eiffel Tower is Very Heavy

With the amount of iron used, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Eiffel Tower is very heavy.

It weighs a whopping 10,100 tons! Of that, 7,300 tons is for the metal frame and the extra 60 tons is for the coat of paint it wears.

The Eiffel Tower in 1888

The Eiffel Tower in 1888 – http://expositions.bnf.fr/universelles/, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

7. It Took Two years, two months, and five days to complete the Tower

While still talking about its construction, another Eiffel Tower fact you should know is that the whole thing took two years, two months, and five days to be completed.

Construction started on 26th January 1887 and ended on 31st March 1889 which was quite an impressive amount of time to put together such a landmark.

8. The Eiffel Tower’s height changes

Another interesting fact about the Eiffel Tower is that its height changes.

The original height of the Eiffel Tower was 300m (985 ft) but because of the amount of metal used, it undergoes the natural phenomenon of thermal expansion.

Hence, the structure shrinks during the winter due to contraction and expands during the summer but the beauty of it is that the engineers put it together so that it doesn’t expand by more than 5-7 inches (15 cm) at a time.

It also tilts away from the sun on expansion due to unequal heat distribution.

Aside from the expansion, the height of the Eiffel Tower has immensely increased due to the addition of radio and TV antennas.

As of February 2023, the Eiffel Tower measures 330 meters (1,083 feet) and who knows maybe it will keep growing.

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9. The Tower sways with the wind

One would assume that such a big and heavy structure can withstand the force of nature, but the Eiffel Tower sways if the wind is too strong.

Its base is heavier than the apex that thins out at the top, which could be one of the reasons why the Tower moves with powerful gusts of wind at the top.

But the engineers took this into account while building it. It was designed in such a way as not to sway more than 4.5 inches or 11 cm.

Today, though rare, the tower is closed off to public access when the wind is too strong.

Painting the Eiffel Tower in 1910

Painting the Eiffel Tower in 1910 – Agence Rol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

10. The Eiffel Tower has changed colors over the years

I don’t mean personality-wise but the Eiffel Tower’s color has changed since it was built.

The Tower has to be periodically repainted, which is done by hand to protect it from the effects of heavy machinery, and the engineers would choose the colors used when undertaking the job.

When it was built in 1889, the initial coat of the Eiffel Tower was brick-red/Venetian red.

Subsequently, it was painted ochre-brown in 1892, shades of yellow in 1899, and yellowish-brown in 1907, and since 1968, it’s an “Eiffel Tower brown,” or the bronze that we now know it to be.

11. The Eiffel Tower has to be repainted by hand every 7 years

In connection to the previous point, the Eiffel Tower paint wears off with time and due to forces of nature like rain.

Gustave Eiffel calculated an approximate interval of 7 years between repaints so that is what has been maintained on average till now.

The Tower has been repainted 18 times since its initial coat, with a recent one undertaken ahead of the 2024 Olympics. Because of the periodic repaints, it does not rust despite the amount of iron used.

Related post: Fun Facts About the French Language

12. It is also painted in an ombre manner

The Eiffel Tower is split into 3 levels — bottom, middle, and top. For each section, a different shade is applied.

Hence, three distinct coats of paint having different tones or color variations are used for the top, middle, and bottom floors.

The bottom level gets the darkest color of the lot, while the shades get lighter with altitude.

This is done so that the structure stands out against the sky while also giving the effect of color uniformity.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the things Paris is famous for.

13. The Eiffel Tower is Made of Iron, not Steel

While still talking about its physical looks, here is another one of the Eiffel Tower facts you may not know.

Contrary to what many may believe, the Eiffel Tower is made of iron, not steel. The iron used was obtained from Pompey forges in Eastern France.

14. It has 72 names engraved on it

Though Gustave Eiffel is the most resounding name regarding the Eiffel Tower’s history, other names are connected to the landmark.

There are 72 names engraved on the borders of each 4 sides of the tower under the balcony of the first floor.

It is believed that Gustave wanted to celebrate smart minds, scholars, and scientists who lived and worked between 1789 and 1889 as a way of recognizing their contribution to science. These include engineers, railway specialists, mechanics, mathematicians, and more.

Though the names had been covered during a paint job at the beginning of the 20th century, they were restored in 1986 and 1987 and can be seen today.

15. There Was An ice rink inside the Eiffel Tower Once

You’d be surprised to know what the Eiffel Tower holds inside it. One of the interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower for kids and adults alike is that there was an ice rink once.

It was opened in 2015 and was functional during the peak winter from December 2016 to February 2017.

The rink was built on the 1st floor, 57 meters (187 ft) above the ground. Before this, a roller-skating rink was built there in 2006, and a diving pool in 2007.

Erika Aya Eiffel - the woman who married the Eiffel Tower

Erika Aya Eiffel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Related Post: Interesting Facts About the Arc de Triomphe

16. Someone actually married the Eiffel Tower

Before I tell you about this weird and unorthodox fact about the Eiffel Tower, you should know that there is a condition called paraphilia which involves people developing significant relationships with inanimate objects.

A woman named Erika Aya, a competitive archer from the USA has this condition and that’s where this fact stems from.

She “married” the Eiffel Tower in 2007 in a commitment ceremony subsequently calling herself Mrs. Eiffel or Erika Eiffel.

17. It was the tallest structure in the world for 4 decades

Until 1930, the Eiffel Tower stood higher than any building or structure in the world. Then the Chrysler Building in New York at 318.8 m (1046 ft) surpassed it.

In 1931, the Empire State Building measuring 443.1 m (1454 ft) overtook the Chrysler Building which meant that the Eiffel Tower was no longer the tallest structure on earth.

However, an antenna added to the Eiffel Tower increased its height by 30m (98 ft) to reach 330 meters (1,083 feet) as of 2023, making it taller than the Chrysler Building but still couldn’t beat the Empire State Building.

18. It’s technically illegal to photograph the Eiffel Tower at night

This might be one of the most astonishing facts about the Eiffel Tower. For those unaware, the Eiffel Tower lights up every top of the hour each night in a sparkling and twinkling display of light. For this effect, roughly 20,000 lights are used.

You might have seen many images of this on social media, however, you could be fined for taking a photograph of this light display and sharing it without authorization.

Since it is copyrighted under French law, the French government classifies it as artwork that can’t be redistributed without appropriate authorization.

Don’t get me wrong though! You can absolutely take photos of the Eiffel Tower at night and post them on social media but what is considered illegal is professionally printing those photos and selling them or using them in commercials without proper authorization.

Being home to the Eiffel Tower is why Paris is the city of love.
Eiffel Tower at night

Related Post: Best places to take photos of the Eiffel Tower

19. The Eiffel Tower was not liked or well-received by Parisians

Another one of the Eiffel Tower interesting facts is that some Parisians were not happy about the Eiffel Tower being built.

Hundreds of people, including local artists, and intellectuals like French author Guy de Maupassant and Charles Garnier, the architect of Palais Garnier protested against the Eiffel Tower being built.

In fact, Guy de Maupassant hated it so much that he ate his lunch at the Eiffel Tower as it was the only place he could not see this “ugly” structure.

They claimed that it would ruin the beauty of Paris. A petition was also signed to this effect and sent to the newspaper and the French government condemning it.

In their words, it was called a monstrosity and ugly structure but fortunately, nobody paid heed to it, and the Eiffel Tower was built anyway.

Related Post: Interesting Facts About Palais Garnier

20. A mayor rode down the Eiffel Tower stairs

Here’s another fun fact about the Eiffel Tower. In 1923, the future Mayor of Montmartre, journalist Pierre Labric, cycled nearly 350 stairs from the first to the ground floor of the Eiffel Tower. The reason it became an issue was that he did so without permission.

After this event, several others took permission and rode up or down the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. In most cases, it was to celebrate the Tower’s anniversaries.

21. The Eiffel Tower was almost demolished

Germany occupied France from 1940 to 1944. Towards the end, Hitler was about to lose the capital to the Allied Forces and that’s when he ordered the then-military governor of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz to destroy the capital city and everything in it, including the Eiffel Tower.

Fortunately, von Choltitz did not follow through with this order and the Eiffel Tower still stands.

Otherwise, Hitler would have been responsible for destroying one of France’s most iconic landmarks.

The Eiffel tower in Las Vegas, USA
The Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, USA

22. It is the most replicated monument in the world

Although the Eiffel Tower might not be included as a wonder of the world, it has inspired people worldwide to make replicas of it.

You will find its lookalikes in China, Japan, the USA (Las Vegas and Ohio), Macau, Greece, and Paris, Texas. Most look similar with variations in size or design.

23. The Eiffel Tower is Also the Most Photographed Monument in the World

Being an iconic structure, it shouldn’t surprise you that it is the most photographed monument in the world.

More than 7 million people photograph this famous landmark every year.

Related Post: Fun Facts About France

24. There’s an apartment at the top of the Tower

Want to know more Eiffel Tower fun facts? Here’s another interesting one.

Although Gustave Eiffel did not design the tower, when his engineers built it, he got a private apartment made for himself at the top of the tower, though he never slept in it since it had no bedroom.

Given its uniqueness, he hosted some famous guests there, including Thomas Edison, and no one else was allowed to enter it unless he invited them.

The apartment has wax figures of Eiffel himself, Thomas Edison, and Claire, Eiffel’s daughter. It is now open to the public and you can even tour it on certain days.

Gustave Eiffel and Thomas Edison wax figures inside the Eiffel Apartment
Gustave Eiffel and Thomas Edison wax figures inside the Eiffel Apartment

25. The Tower housed a laboratory

The 3rd floor of the Eiffel Tower had a meteorology lab. Gustave Eiffel used it for personal research and conducted various scientific experiments in physics and aerodynamics.

This lab is said to be the oldest working aeronautical lab. In 1909, a wind tunnel was also built at the foot of the tower which was subsequently used by other scientists.

Later, a weather station was built at the top. The tower is also where cosmic rays were discovered by physicist and Jesuit priest Theodor Wulf.

26. There’s also a military bunker underneath the Tower

Of all the Eiffel Tower facts, this should be the most fascinating. If you’ve read my post on interesting facts about the Paris Catacombs, you would know about the military bunkers there.

Turns out, that is not the only place with bunkers. A caged entrance near the structure’s south pillar leads to a secret underground military bunker beneath the Eiffel Tower.

The French are said to have used this when the Germans occupied France. It was eventually converted into a mini museum which you can tour.

Eiffel Tower in Paris in winter
The Eiffel Tower in Paris in winter

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27. The Eiffel Tower Has a Bollywood connection

We all know that many movies have been pictured using the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop or a prop.

Superman II (1980), A View to a Kill (1987), Ratatouille (2007), and Men in Black (2019) are some of them.

In addition to Hollywood movies, Bollywood films also incorporated the tower in the storyline, like Evening in Paris (1967) and Queen (2013).

But, the Eiffel Tower has another Bollywood connection. One of the descendants of Maurice Koechlin, one of the engineers entrusted with the Eiffel Tower’s design, is a national award-winning Bollywood actress, Kalki Koechlin.


Final Thoughts on the Interesting Facts About the Eiffel Tower

How many of these interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower did you know? Do you think they convinced you enough to visit the famous monument?

If yes, the next time you visit this landmark, don’t forget to look for some of these. And if you take a tour guide, see if they mention any of these facts.

And if you know more such fun facts about the Eiffel Tower, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to read about them.

Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris

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