Post Four: Bastille Day (the song by Rush)

Despite my opinions on the Monument itself (it’s not my favorite), I would be remiss to exclude the Eiffel Tower from this catalog of posts. Despite its past as a much maligned mass on the Paris skyline, it has undoubtedly had an indelible impact on the city’s culture, history, and identity. Initially designed and built by Gustav Eiffel for the 1889 World Fair in celebration for the French Revolution’s centennial, the Eiffel Tower served the purpose of a centerpiece and observation tower to see the city from above. It was the tallest structure in the world for a time until it was usurped by the Chrysler Building in 1930.

The World Fair brought cultures and technology from around the world, never before seen innovations in science and engineering, and a devoted drive to the future to Paris in ways the city hadn’t encountered since the industrial revolution. Despite this, the people of Paris considered the Eiffel Tower a blight on the city and its skyline. Then, when Paris once again hosted the World Fair in 1900, the Eiffel Tower reprised its role as centerpiece monument and observation tower which prolonged its lifespan even further. Eventually, when Paris was just about to demolish the building, people realized it could be used as a radio tower because it was already tall and thus the building was saved. Now it is probably the most identifyable and visited sites in Paris next to the Notre-Dame cathedral and caked in so many lights that it is visible miles away based on the sheer amount of light pollution it emits.

These were the life and times of the Eiffel Tower, a true Monument of France. From being both French and hated by the French while also being a symbol of the ideal of their advancement to the future both technologically and culturally to waste-not-want-not mentality of its preservation and modern use, the Eiffel Tower is nothing if not very much an icon of Paris and of France; whether we want it to be or not.

I drew an image of the Eiffel Tower (I prefer the photo big time).

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