The Eiffel Tower was originally built as the entrance arch for the World's Fair in 1889. It's famous because it was never supposed to stay there. Gustave Eiffel designed it for the temporary Exposition Universelle, and a lot of crazy other buildings and constructions were all around the Eiffel Tower during the Exhibition. But it looked so strange and became so popular that they didn't destroy it.
Today the tower welcomes almost 7 million people a year, making it the most visited paid-for monument in the world.
During WW2, when Hitler visited Paris, the French cut the lift cables on the Eiffel Tower so that Hitler would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top.
Con artist Victor Lustig "sold" the Eiffel Tower to a scrap metal dealer.
Legendary con artist Victor Lustig had a knack for making strangers trust him. So much so that in the 1920s Lustig convinced two separate investors to buy the Eiffel Tower from him, which he claimed was being sold off for scrap metal. Lustig claimed a $70,000 bribe from his first victim, but was never caught or punished; the poor sap was too ashamed to report his losses.
There are 20,000 light bulbs on the Eiffel Tower.
There are over 30 replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world.
From London to Las Vegas to Lahore, Pakistan, scale replicas of the world’s most famous tower stand against the skyline. The half-scale model of the tower that stands within the Paris Las Vegas hotel was originally meant to be a full-size duplicate—it just happened to be too close to the airport for comfort.
The paint on the Eiffel Tower weighs as much as 10 elephants.
It is named after Gustave Eiffel, whose company was in charge of the project.
Gustave Eiffel even had an apartment for himself at the top of the Eiffel Tower
Standing 984 feet high upon completion on March 15, 1889, the Eiffel Tower became the world’s tallest structure. It kept that honor for 41 years until the Chrysler Building topped it out in 1930, standing at 1,046 feet.
Thanks to thermal expansion, the Eiffel Tower can grow up to six inches taller on warm days, and lean several inches away from the sun.
The Eiffel Tower wasn’t born with that perfect bronzed tan; it has been repainted 18 times, roughly once every seven years (other colors the Tower has worn include red-brown, yellow-ochre, and chestnut brown). How much paint is that? About sixty tons to cover the Tower’s surface, plus 50 kilometers of cords and five acres of netting.
While the Tower’s likeness has long been in the public domain, brand managers made it a little harder to capture its iconic image in 1989, when a French court ruled that lighting displays projected from the Tower are an “original visual creation” protected by copyright. Technically even today it is illegal for anyone to publish a photo of the lit tower at night without permission from France. (Your Facebook photos are probably safe though).
The Eiffel Tower was almost moved to Montreal in 1960 when a secret agreement between Charles de Gaulle and the mayor of Montreal was made. The Eiffel Tower was going to be transferred to Canada for the Universal Exhibition in 1967, but the company that managed the Tower vetoed the decision.