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Essential Facts About the Eiffel Tower

Salut !

From Hollywood movies to my own logo, the Eiffel Tower crops up every time you think about France. After 127 years of watching over Paris, the Iron lady is still as majestic and fascinating as ever.

Today we’ll try to find what secrets she wants to tell.

C’est pas sorcier sur la Tour Eiffel
Le site officiel de la Tour Eiffel

Et toi ?

Have you ever visited la tour Eiffel ?
What good memories do you keep ?
Which other French monument would you recommend ?

Share your experience (in French if you dare!) in the comments below. We can all learn from your story. The comment section is the best place to start discussions and ask questions!

Bisous,

Géraldine

Bonus Material: Download the Transcript

Salut c’est Géraldine, bienvenue sur Comme une Française TV, Sound French, even to the French.

Symbol of Paris and symbol of France, la Tour Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower, is a sight you can’t miss if you are traveling to my country. Or if you’ve seen any movie that wants to show you that a scene happens in France. Or, you know, my own logo here (pointer du doigt en bas côté jardin).

By day, by night, from the ground or at the top, the Eiffel Tower is a sight to behold, taking care of the busy city at her feet. Or as the poet once wrote : « Bergère ô Tour Eiffel le troupeau des ponts bêlent ce matin »

« O Eiffel Tower sheperdess today your bridges are a bleating flock ».

  1. A Parisian building

This iron pylon with its four pillars is seen from far away in Paris and its area. Parisians love to see it when they live their daily lives, or drive on les quais de Seine, or just find a rare flat with vue sur la tour Eiffel, view on the Eiffel tower ; however, virtually none of them actually go and visit it more than once in their lifetime !

The tower stands on la rive gauche, the left bank, just south of the river Seine, on le Quai Branly. There’s a new museum nearby, on arts and cultures of the other continents. It’s great and worth a visit too.

South of the tower, you have the gardens of le Champs de Mars, and in the north, on the other side of the river, la place du Trocadéro, where you can take some nice pictures on the Tower. You can also take a tour of La Cité du Patrimoine et de l’Architecture, museum of Architecture, that I love and recommend !

You can go to the Eiffel Tower by metro or car, but also by train with le RER, bicycle, or… by boat !

To check how you can access the tower, and other practical informations such as the current opening hours or the days of least affluence, you can visit the official Eiffel Tower website [www.toureiffel.paris/].

  1. The construction

The Eiffel Tower was built for l’Exposition universelle de Paris in 1889 one hundred years after the French revolution.

Its name come from the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the monument. Eiffel was already famous by then, thanks to his massive bridges elsewhere in France as well as his contribution to the construction of the Statue of Liberty.

This Tower, however, was his chef d’œuvre, his masterpiece : with a height of 312 mètres, or 1024 feet, it was the tallest structure in the world ! And it kept that title for more than 40 years, until the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York.

The structure is quite light : if you could put the Tower in a giant jar, the air in that jar would weigh more than the monument itself !

Tough it’s still weigh more than 10 000 tons… that’s a lot of metal. So much that un escroc, a con artist in 1925 saw a profit to make and « sold the Eiffel Tower ».

He pretended to be the official in charge of dismantling the controversial monument, sold a promise on all this iron to different local scrap dealers… then ran away with the money.

Actually, one thing was true in his story : many people didn’t want that thing to stay, at first. The city tried to make the monument useful, and finally found the excuse of a broadcast tower – but its real use stands as a national pride, and a tourist attraction.

  1. Visiting the Eiffel tower

The tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world ; every year more than 6 million visitors climb the structure, around 25 000 a day.

If you want to visit it and limit your waiting in line, I encourage you to come early for the opening hour, or to buy your ticket online !

From the base of a pillar, you can go to le 1er étage the first floor, and le 2ème étage, the second floor, à pied ou en ascenseur, by foot or on the lift. I highly recommend you use the stairs if you can : it’s not that long, and you can enjoy the view and some more stories and explanations they give along the way.

On the first floor, you can have a classy lunch at the Eiffel Tower restaurant. On the second floor, you can enjoy a wonderful view over Paris.

To reach the third floor, le sommet, (the top), you have to use the lift ; you’ll find the small appartment Gustave Eiffel had there to entertain his guests.

Even French writer Guy de Maupassant, known opposant to the monument, used to often go and visit the Tower, eating at the restaurant on the first floor or admiring the view from the Tower : as he said, “c’est le seul endroit de Paris où je ne la vois pas”, « it’s the only place in Paris where I can’t see it. »

Now of course the Eiffel Tower is an essential part of the Parisian panorama, and that « best view in Paris » switched to la Tour Montparnasse, just to avoid seeing it.

  1. Sound and light

The Eiffel Tower is a beautiful place to set some music shows ; from electronic music for New Year’s Eve for instance, to classical orchestra for the National Day on July the 14th with fireworks.

And finally at night, don’t miss “les illuminations de la Tour Eiffel”. Even though I haven’t visited the Tour Eiffel in a while, I really like seeing it illuminated at night. At the beginning of each hour, for 5 minutes, la Tour Eiffel scintille. the Eiffel Tower sparkles.

With all these flashes and visitors and history, it’s not surprising that Gustave Eiffel himself once said : “Je devrais être jaloux de ma Tour, elle est plus célèbre que moi”, he should be jealous of his tower, since she’s more famous than he was.

And that’s true ; when we see la dame de fer, the Iron Lady as we call it sometimes, we don’t think of it as Eiffel’s. Or even as a « Tower », since that word brings to mind instead old medieval castles or new glass skyscrapers !

It just became something unique in itself, a majestic landmark on the river Seine, like one special word : « Touréfelle ».

Et toi ? Have you ever visited la tour Eiffel ? What good memories do you keep ? Which other French monument would you recommend ?

Share your experience (in French if you dare!) in the comments below. We can all learn from your story. The comment section is the best place to start discussions and ask questions!

--- If you want to know more about the Tower, you can check out the special issue of French TV Show « C’est Pas Sorcier », I’ll give you the link in this video description It’s short, it’s fun and it’s perfect to practice your French ! --- If you liked this video, share it with your friends on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest! Help me spread the word about Comme une Française. Merci !

Love France? Dream of sounding French, even to the French? Learn how with me, Geraldine, on Comme une Française.com and subscribe to my email updates for exclusive tips on Real Life in France every Tuesday PLUS an exclusive video lesson: “Introduce yourself in French.” It's FREE!

Merci for watching Comme une Française TV, sound French, even to the French.

Allez, salut !

Bonus Material: Download the Transcript

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