The Eiffel Tower Celebrates 130 Years: Here’s What’s New in 2019

The Eiffel Tower Celebrates 130 Years: Here’s What’s New in 2019
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 Adventure Game 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,…

Lead photo credit : Eiffel Tower. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

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Sarah Fauvel hails from Rouen, Normandy. She is a Paris-based journalist, editorial and fine art photographer, her longtime passion. The beauty of Normandy (birthplace of Impressionism) and her grandfather's art imbued her childhood with artistic vitality. From an early age, Sarah has found inspiration for photography and writing while walking in the footsteps of these artists. She has developed visual storytelling and writing expertise over the course of her career. She loves to tell stories through images and informative captions. Her photos have been displayed in an association dedicated to the international community based in Paris. She has previously lived in the United States.