The construction of the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889 on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. Its construction is historically remembered as a true technical feat, completed in record time: 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to create an iron giant weighing over 10 thousand tons. However, the engineer Gustave Eiffel found himself in the sights of the press and intellectuals of the time: the high secular cathedral, which sanctioned the entry of Paris into the age of modernity, was the subject of an appeal signed by, among others, Charles Gounod, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas (son), François Coppée and William Bouguereau, who called “an ink stain on the hateful shadow of the obnoxious bolted sheet metal column”.
The controversy died down when the construction work was completed, in the face of the immense popular success that it enjoyed (2 million visitors were reported during the 1889 Exposition). Initially it was destined to remain standing for only 20 years, nevertheless its permanence was saved by the scientific experiments that Eiffel promoted, in particular by the first radiographic transmissions, then telecommunications: radio signals from the Tower to the Pantheon in 1898, military radio station in 1903, first public radio transmission in 1925, then television on TNT more recently. The Eiffel Tower receives (at least according to pre-pandemic data) almost 7 million visitors per year, of which about 75% are foreigners, a figure that has made it the most visited paid monument in the world.
Due to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the city is restoring the exterior facades of its most precious symbols, such as Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre. As for the Eiffel Tower, the color change will take it from the current “Eiffel brown” (with which we are accustomed to seeing it since 1968, it is divided into three shades from the lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom, to ensure a uniform visual perception of the structure and give it momentum) to the future “yellow-brown”, a more sparkling shade that will give it numerous golden reflections on the entire surface. Yellow-brown, moreover, is the color that its visionary inventor Gustave Eiffel envisioned for his creation in 1907. “The Eiffel Tower will look more ‘gold’, golden, like the Olympic medals and the years that Paris, France and Europe are preparing to live when the pandemic is over,” Patrick Branco Ruivo, general manager of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company that manages the monument, commented optimistically.