FWOTD #3

Every day during the Roland Garros tournament, a new french word or expression related (or not) to Paris, tennis and Roland Garros.

FWOTD #3: la Tour Eiffel

Tour Eiffel

Paris just wouldn’t be Paris without “la Tour Eiffel”. The tower was met with much criticism from the public when it was built. Many considered it an eyesore and wanted it pulled down, but today it is one of the world’s most visited monuments.


Quick history:
For the Exposition Universelle (Universal Exhibition) of 1889, a date that marked the centenary of the French Revolution, the Journal Officiel* launched a major competition to “study the possibility” of erecting an iron tower on the Champ de Mars. The tower would have a square base, 125 meters on each side and 300 meters high”. The project proposal by entrepreneur Gustave Eiffel, engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier and architect Stephen Sauvestre was chosen out of a total of 107. Eiffel originally planned to build the tower in Barcelona, for thhe Universal Exposition of 1888,
but those responsible at the Barcelona city hall thought it was a strange and expensive construction, which did not fit into the design of the city.
The monument was inaugurated on March 31, 1889. Gustave Eiffel climbed the 1710 steps of the Tower to plant the French flag at its peak. The Eiffel Tower was the highest building in the world until 1929, when the Chrysler Building in New York topped it at 319 meters.

[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/tennis-buzz/4635237737/[/flickrvideo]

Key facts:
– total weight: 10 100 tons
– cost of construction: 7 799 401.31 French gold francs of 1889
– 2 tons of paper are used every year to print the tickets for visitors. La Tour Eiffel is the world’s most visited entrance-paying monument
– in 2003, the Tower celebrated the fact that it welcomed over 200 million visitors in 114 years. Since 1998, over 6 million people have visited the monument each year.
– the Tower is entirely repainted every 7 years. The 19th painting began autumn 2008 and finished at the begining of 2010.
– weight of paint: 60 tons

* Journal Officiel: is the official gazette of the French Republic, it publishes the major legal information from the french Government.

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