Happy 130th Birthday, Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is, for many people, the symbol of Paris itself. And today the grand old Parisian lady celebrates 130 years of welcoming people to the city of lights. 

Below I’m sharing an excerpt from Adrian Leeds’ newsletter, Parler Paris about the public reaction when the tower was first built:


THE IRON LADY CELEBRATES 130 YEARS!

She’s 130 years old. Our beautiful Iron Lady opened her doors to the public on May 15th, 1889 for the first time. Little did the world know at the time, that La Tour Eiffel would become THE symbol of Paris, proving her critics wrong, wrong, wrong.

In a letter published in “Le Temps,” there was an outcry:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection…of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower…To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years…we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.”

Illustration of Gustave Eiffel, Compliments of Wikipedia.org

On this anniversary day of May 15, 2019, the Eiffel Tower has invited 1,300 children from various Paris leisure centers, aged 6 to 12, to visit the 1st and 2nd floors of the Tower in the afternoon. Following that, there will be a free concert by Jeanne Added from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Co-organized by the Média Culturel Cercle and its new livestream platform “Drop.” The concert will be broadcast live on the Facebook pages of Drop and the Eiffel Tower!

Finally, the highlight of the day will be from 10 p.m. with an exclusive light show created by the famous scenographer, Bruno Seillier, producer of the mythical “Dame de Cœur” show at Notre Dame de Paris. This luminous work will retrace the history of the Eiffel Tower, from birth to the present and will unveil new visual effects (laser projections, strobe effects, etc.). No worries to those who miss it  Wednesday night, as the show, on a ten-minute loop, will continue to be shown on the following Thursday and Friday evenings, after dark, of course!

FYI, the best point of view to see the show will be at the esplanade and the gardens of the Trocadéro, as well as from the Pont d’Iena.

For more information, visit toureiffel.paris/en/news/.


You might like to read about The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower too.

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Margo Lestz

Margo has authored four books about France. She has a BA in Liberal Studies with International Emphasis and enjoys travel, languages, history, writing, and experiencing other cultures.

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