The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is an imposing iron monument on Paris’ Champ de Mars by the river Seine.
The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889 based on the design of engineer Gustave Eiffel, after whom the tower was named. In fact Eiffel’s design was chosen out of 107 other proposals as part of a competition to create an iron structure as the entrance way to Paris’ Universal Exhibition World Fair or ‘Exposition Universelle’. The intention was to mark the centennial of the French Revolution.
Work on the 15 metre foundations began on 26 January 1887 and the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889 when Eiffel himself climbed the Tower’s 1,710 steps and planted the French flag at its peak.
At that time, the Eiffel Tower’s 312 metres in height made it the tallest building in the world, only eclipsed in 1929 with the construction of New York’s Chrysler Building. Today the Eiffel Tower is 324 metres tall due to the later addition of antennas, making it the tallest building in Paris and the fifth tallest in the world.
The Eiffel Tower is a tourist hotspot and visitors can climb or use the lifts to reach the first or second floors, the latter of which is 115 metres high. The most expansive views can be found on the Eiffel Tower’s third level at 276 metres, which has its own separate lift from the second floor. A backstage tour is available, which details the workings of the Eiffel Tower and its history.