Happy 125 Eiffel Tower: TIME’s Tribute to the Grande Dame of Paris

The Eiffel Tower
It’s hard to imagine anything that’s been photographed more than the Eiffel Tower. Since it opened in 1889, the elegant structure has long been an iconic symbol of Paris, a destination for those visiting the city, a site impossible to ignore. For many, the sleek tower—effortlessly gliding skyward, spectacular at night—is a physical manifestation of love and romance. But it’s not as if the structure was always without its critics.

Back when designs were unveiled in the 1880s, a group of artists strongly protested its construction, calling it useless and monstrous, an indignation of French taste. Sacrebleu! Its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, likened it to the pyramids and predicted it would eventually become beloved by Parisians and visitors alike. He was right. The Eiffel Tower started its ascent in 1887, and when it was completed two years later, it became the tallest man-made structure ever built at 1,063 feet, surpassing the Washington Monument and holding onto the title of tallest in the world for four decades. An estimated 30,000 people climbed the stairs up into the tower in the first few weeks it opened before elevators had even been installed. It was an instant hit.

Read more: Happy 125 Eiffel Tower: TIME’s Tribute to the Grande Dame of Paris – LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2014/03/31/happy-125-eiffel-tower-times-tribute-to-the-grande-dame-of-paris/#ixzz2xcOfL229

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