The Eiffel Tower Celebrates 130 Years: Here’s What’s New in 2019
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Paris. Sunday March 31, 1889 at 1:30pm, Engineer Gustave Eiffel climbed the tower and raised a French tricolor on the occasion of the World’s Fair. A 1,063-feet tall architectural masterpiece was born. It was intended to last 20 years. In 2019, the Iron Lady still stands with pride. To celebrate its 130th birthday, the symbol of Paris is getting in the festive spirit with exciting events and activities all year long.
What’s more, the tower’s recent renovations, the freshly redesigned gardens paired with the new restaurants by the Michelin-starred chefs Thierry Marx and Frédéric Anton, will turn the visit into a tasty adventure. Here’s a list of the year-long celebrations and a few tips on how to experience the Eiffel Tower in its multiple aspects– on all floors.
A Special Anniversary: Spotlight on the Eiffel Tower’s history
“I ought to be jealous of the Tower. She is more famous than I am.” – Gustave Eiffel
When it was built in 1887, not everyone had a crush on the iron structure. The project was not only criticized by local residents but also– and especially!– by the art community. Forty-seven artists including the renowned writers Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola as well as the Opera’s famous architect, Charles Garnier, signed a petition published on February 14, 1887, protesting the construction of the “useless and monstrous” Eiffel Tower. All of them claimed that it would “dishonor” the beauty of Paris. Paul Verlaine even compared the tower to a “belfry skeleton!” The project showcased real technical prowess as the ground along the river was water-drenched. It attracted two million visitors at the World’s Fair in 1889.
Since its inauguration, the Iron Lady has triggered fierce emotions– between disenchantment and passion, disillusion and adoration. It has gradually become ingrained in French culture and history. Whether wrapped in the blanket of the morning dew or bathed in the glowing red light of the sunset, the monument is today endlessly appealing, attracting nearly seven million visitors a year.
Festive celebrations all year long
On March 30th, the Eiffel Tower launched a free Adventure Game for visitors. Dive into an immersive treasure hunt to unlock the mystery of the iconic monument’s history.
A portrait exhibition
An exhibition of giant portraits tells the story of all the skilled men and women who operate the Eiffel Tower each day. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the daily lives of each man and woman working every day, day after day, with a diversity of skilled trades and jobs. Their goal? To make the monument even more beautiful, even more iconic. The exhibition is displayed outdoors on the palisades surrounding the North elevator until the end of the year.
Themed treats and tickets
To mark the special anniversary year, the Eiffel Tower’s pastry chefs have designed two tasty tarts– one flavored with lemon, the other with chocolate. They are topped with a white chocolate dot displaying the anniversary logo.
Your Eiffel Tower admission ticket will also celebrate the 130th anniversary– decorated with the special birthday colors.
The summer terrace
Since April, the summer terrace has been enticing visitors- and it has a new decoration, a nod to the 130th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower Design Prize
For its 130th anniversary, the Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE – Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel) launched a design competition (Prix Design tour Eiffel) in collaboration with the Ateliers de Paris. The competition offered an exceptional opportunity for designers and creatives to showcase their savoir-faire to make the Eiffel Tower shine even more brightly. The project could be an everyday consumer item or an exceptional creative object or patterns that can be reproduced in a limited edition.
The three winning projects will be unveiled as part of Paris Design Week, on September 14, 2019, on the occasion of a special evening at the Gustave Eiffel Salon, located on the 1st floor of the monument.
An astounding Light Show for the Eiffel Tower’s second major event in history
On May 15th, 1889, the Eiffel Tower opened to the public for the very first time…only a few days after its inauguration at the World’s Fair. On May 15th, 2019, the Iron Lady opened its gates to 1,300 children and organized a concert on the Esplanade.
When night fell, the Iron Lady dressed up with an unparalleled light and laser show to retrace its history, from its birth up to the present day. The show also gave a magnificent and a truly stirring nod to Notre-Dame cathedral, as the 850-year-old architectural masterpiece was engulfed by a massive fire on April 15.
The show took place for three consecutive days, every hour from 9:00 pm to midnight.
The work was staged by installation designer Bruno Seillier, creator of the renowned show Dame de Coeur at Notre Dame, in partnership with EDF.
An upcoming interactive exhibition
In September, an interactive exhibition highlighting the major steps of the Iron Lady’s construction will be organized in honor of the 130th anniversary of the symbol of Paris.
Your Floor-by-Floor Eiffel Tower Guide
From the south or east entrance, you can luxuriate in the grassy gardens– a Listed Wooded Area– to experience a fresh perspective and angles of the Eiffel Tower. It’s also the perfect place to rediscover historic viewpoints surrounded by the typically Parisian belvederes dating from the Belle Époque.
While enjoying an ice cream cone, you can nourish your creative spirit with a walk through the two hectares of gardens designed with ancient trees, flowerbeds, 2,000 shrubs and the replanted 20,000 perennial plants (ferns, lily of the valley, hydrangea), gazebos, rocky waterfalls, lakes and ducks!
From April to December 2019, enjoy a tasty treat with various points of sale on all floors.
1st Floor: Experience the tower with all your senses!
The Brasserie, currently named 58 Tour Eiffel, has been taken over by the double-starred Chef Thierry Marx and is gradually being redesigned to offer a smorgasbord of new experiences in 2020.
The restaurant 58 will close for extensive work from the beginning of September 2019 to February 2020. Led by Ramy Fischler, 2018 Designer of the Year, and Nicola Delon, the restaurant will be restored, refurbished and divided into islands to bring to light a sumptuous place with a 360-view on the horizon of Paris.
As an explorer of gastronomy, Thierry Marx aspires to offer a refined but simple, healthy cuisine with a focus on seasonal produce from small, local producers and with a deep respect of the environment.
In the meantime– while lingering on the summer terrace– you can indulge in a gourmet treat from the new spring-summer menu created by the famous Chef for dinner and lunch.
And contemplate the panorama of the City of Light at your feet from the glass floor. Check out the city’s sprawl at over 184-feet beneath you.
Then feel a breeze of the past with the iconic helix staircase. Marvel at the remaining 14-feet high piece of this historic helix staircase. A section of the Eiffel Tower’s original staircase were sold by French auction in 2018.
To get a close look at the iron structure (made of 18,038 metallic parts!), climb the 674 stairs to go up to the second floor. The view is even more breathtaking from the stairs.
Second floor: unparalleled views and dine in style in the sky
Landmarks of the City of Light can be spotted all along the floor at 410-feet high: Le Louvre, Grand Palais, the river banks, Invalides and our dearest Notre-Dame.
… And it’s also the perfect place to savor French gastronomic excellence at Le Jules Verne restaurant with the fine dining shaped by the three-Michelin-starred chef and “Meilleur Ouvrier de France,” Frédéric Anton.
Reopened in May 2019, the redesigned Jules Verne is the symbol of French elegance, sumptuously redecorated to pay homage to both the decorative and gastronomic arts. The outstanding gourmet destination welcomes any visitor who wants to delve into a rich culinary experience for lunch and dinner with a 5 to 7-course menu. What’s more, the restaurant now offers breakfast.
Third floor: make a toast at the wrought-iron monument
The third floor allows you to admire the most fascinating urban views at 905-feet high (276 m)– with only the antennae above your head and with all the Parisian skyline at your feet! The vistas at the top of the tower are up to 53 miles away and it gives the impression that you’re hovering over the dazzling cityscape.
… See the cozy private office of Mr. Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel’s office has been restored to its original look to take visitors back in the past. Take a deep look inside the scene: Mr. Gustave Eiffel and his daughter Claire are welcoming the famous American inventor, Thomas Edison.
… And toast to romance at the champagne bar
The champagne bar reopened in spring 2019 to offer the ultimate experience with champagne and French caviar to toast to romance at the top of the symbol of Paris.
And in the Fall…
The Eiffel Tower will continue its embellishments with a new elevator and its 20th paint campaign, the most complex painting process since its construction!
The Eiffel Tower is located at Champ de Mars, 5, Avenue Anatole France in the 7th arrondissement. It is open from Monday through Sunday from 9:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. with the elevator and from 9:30 to 6:30 p.m. with the stairs.
Opening hours during the summer (July 7 to September 1): Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12:45 a.m (with the elevator and the stairs).
For more information, you can go to the website of the Eiffel Tower at: https://www.toureiffel.paris/en
Lead photo credit : Eiffel Tower. Photo: Sarah Fauvel
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