The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889, in the run up to the Exposition Universelle hosted in Paris to celebrate the French Revolution’s century. Now perhaps the world’s most famous landmark, it wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms at the time.
Standing 324m tall, it was to be the highest man-made structure of the time and quite frankly, not moaning about such a drastic change would just not be very French. In fact, the project drew criticism from a number of leading artists and intellectuals who came together as a ‘Committee of Three Hundred’.
In a letter sent to the Exposition’s Commissioner in 1887, the group argued its concern that ‘this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower‘ would dominate the city and ridicule Paris’ other majestic monuments like Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Dome of les Invalides, etc. ‘Our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream‘, they claimed. Bit much.
Originally under a 20 year permit before being taken down, the Tower still stands proud today, attracting almost 7 million people a year. For the sake of an unlikely post-Christmas day picnic (thanks a bunch, global warming), I was one of the many privileged enough to enjoy her sight as 2015 came to a close.
Here’s a bit of Eiffel Tower porn for you: