Eiffel Tower, Paris, Ile-De-France, France

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The Eiffel Tower Paris France, erected from 1887-1889, is renowned as one of the most romantic destinations in the world, yet it wasn’t always that way!

As it was initially being constructed, French aristocrats like composer Charles Gounod, painter William Bouguereau, architect Charles Garnier and writer Guy de Maupassant signed a petition in protest of the new monument. According to these countrymen, the tower was “useless,” “monstrous” and an “odious column of bolted metal.”

They feared that this “gigantic black factory chimney” would overwhelm and humiliate all the other monuments, “belittling our works of architecture,” they said. Despite their protests, the tower went up and become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, bringing fame and prestige to Paris.

At first glance, the Eiffel Tower looks as though it is firm, immovable and unchanging. Yes, it is constructed using a hefty 7,300 tonnes of metal and it is over 120 years old now, but did you know the 984-foot tower shrinks six inches on cold days?

Additionally, the tower is currently wet. Its massive repainting began in March 2009 and is expected to take 18 months to complete, using 60 tons of paint in three different shades of brown. Occasionally, you may look out your Paris hotel window and catch a glimpse of an Eiffel Tower ad campaign.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

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In the twenties and thirties, ads for Citroen cars adorned three of the sides. During World War II, German troops hung their banners from the tower to celebrate their takeover of the city. In the late seventies, a Greenpeace protestor hung a “Save the Seals” sign on the tower. Today, ads are rarely seen on the monument, but a company called Apoteo Surprise will flash your personal engagement message under the Eiffel Tower for €2,490.

Engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel is best known for his namesake monument, the Eiffel Tower, Paris France, but it wasn’t his only magnificent feat. Before working on the tower, which was set for completion several weeks before the Exposition Universelle of 1889, he also constructed more than fifty bridges across Europe.

The three-story La Ruche building, beloved by luminaries like Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Renoir, is another one of Gustave’s historic creations. Eiffel has a train station in Chile, a church in the Philippines, a post office in Vietnam, a bridge in Belgium and a hotel in Romania, to name a few projects.

He was also one of the key designers when the French were in charge of building the Panama Canal. (Well, everything can’t be a shining success, right?) It’s also interesting to note that the tower may have been the “Bnickhausen Tower” had Gustave’s father not changed their surname to “Eiffel” upon arriving to Paris from Germany.

While visiting the Eiffel Tower, many people enjoy walking tours below the monument, where they can view the River Seine, century-old trees, towering skyscrapers and breathtaking palaces. Other people wish to see some of the world-famous museums France has to offer, including the Louvre. Architecture lovers will also want to see the Arch de Triomphe, the Notre Dame de Paris and the Champs Elysee.

Other cities that are less than 3 hours away by train include Dijon, Rennes, Avignon, Aix en Provence, Strasbourg, Normandy, Annecy, La Rochelle, Tours and Lyon.

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