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27 Interesting Facts About the Eiffel Tower You Never Knew

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The iconic Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and is synonymous with Paris. It is a common bucket list item for travel enthusiasts who want to explore Europe and France’s rich history.

For those who have visited this iconic spot, it certainly does not disappoint and adds to the excitement and charm of Paris.

Here are 27 interesting facts about it that you might not know.

1. Rapid Construction

Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris
Photo Credit:

The Eiffel Tower was completed in 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days. Considering how long it can take to build homes these days, the timeline for this massive piece is quite impressive. Construction took place between 1887 and 1889, 180 years faster than the construction of Notre Dame.

2. Lots of Stairs

Stairs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
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There are 1,665 stairs in the Eiffel Tower. It is possible to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower but most people take the lift. For health enthusiasts that want to get their heart rate up or budget travelers that don’t want to pay the lift fee, the stairs are a great option and offer more chances to enjoy the view on the way up.

3. A World Fair Attraction

Paris Tourist Place
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The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. It is 324 meters tall (including antennas) and weighs over 10,000 tonnes.

4. Moving Original Locations

Seville, Spain at Spanish Square
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The Eiffel Tower was meant to be built in Spain. Luckily for Parisians, the Spanish rejected the project, and it came to France instead.

5. Busy Elevators

Huge leg (pylon) of the Eiffel Tower. It is one of the most popular attractions of Paris.
Photo Credit: Birute at

The Elevators in the Eiffel Tower travel over 103,000 km every year. This is the equivalent of circling the earth two and a half times. That’s a lot of people going up and down!

6. Light Bulbs Galore

Love sign of the Kharkiv Eiffel tower at night. Heart with lights.
Photo Credit:

The Eiffel Tower has 20,000 light bulbs, which light up every night to dazzle locals and tourists alike. The French car manufacturer Citroen used the Eiffel Tower as a giant advertising billboard between 1925 and 1934. The name Citroen was lit up with 250,000 lightbulbs, which was listed as the biggest advertisement in the Guinness Book of World Records.

7. A Pause During WWII

A German General walks up a staircase in Paris with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
Photo Credit:

The French cut off the lift in the Eiffel Tower during World War 2. If Hitler was to visit the Eiffel Tower they wanted to make sure that he had to climb all the stairs to reach the top. Nazi soldiers attempted to attach a swastika to the top, but it blew away.

8. Millions of Annual Visitors

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero with many tourists in the foreground
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Over 250 million people have paid to visit the Eiffel Tower. Today the tower welcomes almost 7 million people a year. This makes it the most visited monument that is paid for in the world.

9. Daily Size Changes

Eiffel Tower with spring tree in Paris
Photo Credit:

The Eiffel Tower changes in size over the day. Due to the high quantity of metal in the tower, it expands to 6 inches when the sun rises. At night, the metal cools and shrinks. Engineers say the tower is 15cm taller in the summer.

10. The Eiffel Tower Moves

Looking up at the spire of the Eiffel Tower from the top-most observation deck.
Photo Credit:

When you are standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris you may feel like it is moving with the wind. That is actually correct. The tower sways around six to seven centimeters in the wind.

11. It Was Once the World’s Tallest Building

Eiffel tower from trocadero
Photo Credit: By NonOmnisMoriar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest building for 41 years. It is 300 meters tall and bigger than the pyramids. Before the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the Washington Monument in the United States was the tallest man-made structure in the world.

The Chrysler Building in New York City took the title of the world’s tallest structure in 1930. It is now far from the tallest building, with many taller buildings around the globe being erected in the 2000s. The current tallest is Burj Khalifa, at 2,717 feet in Dubai.

To this day, at 1,063 feet, or 324 meters, the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest structure in France. The tallest structure in France is actually the world’s tallest bridge, Millau Viaduct, which is 1,125 feet, or 343 meters, from the base to the top of one of its masts.

12. Who Designed It?

Maurice Koechlin was Designed Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: Public Domain,

Gustave Eiffel did not design the Eiffel Towe; Maurice Koechlin did.

This is perhaps the most shocking of the Eiffel Tower facts: Gustave Eiffel, the famous architect for whom the structure was named, did not actually design the Eiffel Tower. Maurice Koechlin sketched the initial design in May 1884 while he was working at home.

Koechlin was a senior engineer working for Eiffel’s architecture firm at the time. Koechlin was working with another architect in the firm, Emile Nouguier, to design a monument for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. The exposition was planned as a World’s Fair to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution.

In the margin of Maurice Koechlin’s first drawing, you can see other monuments from around the world that he used for inspiration or comparison. The monuments include the Statue of Liberty and the Arc de Triomphe.

13. Fighting for Building Approval

Long distance View of Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: By Sami Mlouhi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

It took three years of lobbying to approve the Eiffel Tower in 1887. Gustave Eiffel did not immediately like Maurice Koechlin’s design. Nouguier and Koechlin asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of Eiffel’s firm’s architectural department, to add some embellishments to the design.

Sauvestre contributed the decorated arches at the base, a glass pavilion on the first level, and other additions to polish the design. The three men took out a patent on the design and presented it to Eiffel once again in the fall of 1884. This time, the design caught Eiffel’s eye, and he bought the patent and began exhibiting the design.

There was a long road from this point to actually getting approval for the project. In 1885 Eiffel presented the design to the Société des Ingiénieurs Civils as a symbol of the dawning Industrial Age and the accomplishments of the previous century, as well as a monument to the French Revolution of 1789.

Two more years passed, and there were changes in government. Eiffel continued to lobby for the project, which was brought to review by a commission in 1886. Eiffel Tower facts show that the commission examined Eiffel’s proposal and competing proposals for the monument.

Eiffel’s proposal was chosen because it was the most practical and well-planned. The other proposals seemed impossible or were not completely thought through.

Perhaps lobbying for the design all the time paid off: when it came up for review, everything could be explained.

14. Public Funds Only Covered a Fraction of the Cost of the Eiffel Tower

crowd on Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: By Rina Peña – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

When Eiffel signed the contract to build the Eiffel Tower, he did so personally and not on behalf of his company. The public funds granted covered only 1/4 of the total needed to build the tower.

As part of the agreement, Eiffel would receive all income from the tower’s commercial use during the exhibition and for the next twenty years. Eiffel set up a separate company to manage the tower’s operations and income. He put up half the capital needed to establish the company.

15. Eiffel’s Firm Produced 5,329 Drawings of the Eiffel Tower

Drawings of the Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: Public Domain,

Once the Eiffel Tower was approved, an intense planning phase began. During this time, Eiffel’s firm produced 1,700 general drawings and 3,629 detailed drawings, which captured the 18,038 pieces that make up the tower.

All of this was being done by hand before the 1900s. The Eiffel Tower was a symbol of the Industrial Age as it was happening.

Construction began in January of 1887 after a location had been determined. The massive concrete and limestone foundations of the Eiffel Tower were the first things to be put into place.

The tower would be assembled in a modular fashion. Sub-assemblies would be completed at one of Eiffel’s facilities in the suburbs of Paris and then brought to the site by horse and cart for assembly into the finished structure.

The Eiffel Tower was ahead of its time in more ways than one. Modular buildings have increased in popularity in recent years—it only took the world over 100 years to catch up!

16. Gustave Eiffel Compared His Tower to the Pyramids of Egypt

The three main pyramids at Giza, Egypt, together with subsidiary pyramids and the remains of other structures at the Giza pyramid complex
Photo Credit: By Ricardo Liberato – All Gizah Pyramids, CC BY-SA 2.0,

While it took Eiffel some time to warm to Koechlin’s design, he became an ardent supporter once he decided to build the tower. While it is considered by many to be a work of art today, many artists and writers protested against the building of the tower based on the drawings that were exhibited at the time.

As the Industrial Age began there was tension between artists and engineers in the field of architecture. A group of artists launched a campaign claiming that the Eiffel Tower was too much engineering and not enough art to be considered good architecture.

Eiffel defended the work’s monumental nature, comparing it to the Pyramids of Egypt. It was an apt description. At the time, the Pyramids were still some of the largest man-made structures on Earth.

Gustave Eiffel was not too concerned about the criticism, as the project had already been approved. Now, these objections seem like a distant memory, as many artists, engineers, and everyday people look to the Eiffel Tower for inspiration.

17. A Conman Named Victor Lustig Sold the Eiffel Tower, Twice!

Lustig was arrested numerous times in conjunction with various criminal schemes, in this case for the altering of bond papers.
Photo Credit: By United States Department of Justice –, Public Domain,

As the Eiffel Tower became a great symbol, it became well-known worldwide. One conman, Victor Lustig, used this worldwide recognition to sell the Eiffel Tower, not once but twice!

In 1925, after World War I, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was not in the best condition. Keeping it painted to prevent rusting proved to be a difficult task.

Based on this information, Lustig developed his con. He held a secret meeting of scrap dealers and, using forged government stationery, offered to sell the Eiffel Tower for scrap!

The scrap dealer Lustig targeted, Andre Poisson, believed he was a corrupt government official and gave him a bribe and money for the tower. Lustig and his accomplice fled to Vienna with a suitcase full of money.

Poisson was so embarrassed that he did not press charges. A month later, Lustig couldn’t help himself and returned to Paris to try the scheme again. This time, the person he tried to scam went to the police, but Lustig managed to escape without arrest.

18. Only One Person Died in the Construction of the Eiffel Tower

Decauville railway on the construction site of the Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: By Unknown author –, Public Domain,

Gustave Eiffel was very serious when it came to the safety of the more than 300 people working on-site on the tallest structure man had ever built at the time.

After criticism of the wood scaffolding that was built to support the structure and the men working as they put the pieces in place, Eiffel’s firm installed creeper cranes that would actually move up the tower as construction progressed.

Other safety measures included guards and screens. As a result, only one person died during the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

19. The Eiffel Tower Was Supposed to Be Torn Down in 1919

Take a picture of Eiffel Tower under on it.
Photo Credit: By Maksim Sokolov ( – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The original contract for the tower stipulated that it should be torn down after 20 years in 1919. At this point, Eiffel would pass the tower’s ownership to the City of Paris.

Part of the original design requirements stated that the tower had to be easily dismantled or demolished. This explains, in part, why it was built in a modular fashion.

Emerging wireless technology and the importance of the tower for making weather observations saved it from the scrap heap. From 1919 on, there were many instances until about the 1950s when it seemed the tower might be torn down.

One example from historical Eiffel Tower facts teaches us that during World War II, as the Germans were being driven from Paris, Adolf Hitler ordered one of his generals to demolish the tower. Thankfully, the general refused, and the tower stands to this day.

20. The Tower is Repainted Every Seven Years

maintenance of Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: By © William Crochot / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Eiffel Tower requires 60 tons of paint. Regular repainting is important to keep it from rusting. Painters use traditional hand stripping and re-painting methods, making it quite an arduous task!

21. There is More Than One Eiffel Tower

Night view of Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas
Photo Credit: By Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0,

There are replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, in the luxury hotel The Parisian Macao, and in the Window of the World theme park in Shenzhen, China.

22. The Eiffel Tower has a Wife

Eiffel Tower with beautiful weather
Photo Credit: By Vince11111 – Tour Eiffel, CC BY 2.0,

In 2008 a woman with a fetish for objects married the Eiffel Tower. She changed her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel.

23. There is an apartment in the Eiffel Tower

Two Man sitting in Apartment in the Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: By Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USA – Gustave’s Apartment – Eiffel, CC BY 2.0,

Gustave Eiffel had a small apartment on the third floor of the Eiffel Tower, which the public can now visit.

24. The Eiffel Tower has Signatures

The names who created the tower are engraved on the side of the Eiffel Tower.
Photo Credit:

The names of the engineers, scientists, and mathematicians who created the tower are engraved on the side of the Eiffel Tower.

25. You Can Build Your Own Eiffel Tower

Decorative Eiffel Tower souvenir on a woman's hand. Travel tourism in Paris, Europe. Travel agency advertising French tour. Eiffel model souvenir statuette. Famous attraction.
Photo Credit:

Lego has an Eiffel Tower set. It contains over 3,400 bricks.

26. Someone Cycled Down the Stairs

Woman freerider riding down city stairs. Sports extreme and active lifestyle
Photo Credit:

In 1923, Pierre Labric cycled down the stairs of the tower for a bet. While he was successful in winning the bet, he was also arrested.

27. Most Parisians Haven’t Climbed the Tower

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero with many tourists in the foreground
Photo Credit: marcbruxelle at

Most Parisians try to avoid the world’s most crowded monument. If you live in Paris, you are lucky enough always to experience the tower, so why climb it? As always, when something is in our backyard, we take it for granted!

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hollywood stars la
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confused woman holding a map on her head
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Sunday 6th of March 2022

Hi, The article mentions that there are two more Eiffel Tower (below). “21. There is more than one Eiffel Tower There are replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas and in the Window of the World theme park in Shenzhen China”

However this is incorrect. There’s one In Macau which is ‘The Parisian Macao’. It’s a luxury hotel and probably has the most accurate near life size Eiffel Tower clone.


Amanda O'Brien

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Thanks so much Shehris - we have updated the article.


Friday 6th of May 2016

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Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

What’s up, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post.


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