The Eiffel Tower was designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel to be the focal point and entrance arch for the World’s Fair celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was inaugurated on March 31, 1889, and has since become the iconic symbol of Paris and France, as well as one of the most-recognizable structures in the world.

In France, the Eiffel Tower is known as La Tour Eiffel or la dame de fer, which means “the iron lady.” It’s an iron lattice tower that stands 984 feet tall (1,063 feet if you include the broadcast antennas at the top).

At completion, it passed the Washington Monument as the tallest man-made structure in the world. It held that title until 1930, when the Chrysler Building was built in New York City.

The Eiffel Tower remains the tallest building in Paris. It is also the most-visited paid monument in the world. Experts estimate more than 200 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower since it opened!

Visitors can ascend to three different levels of the Eiffel Tower. The lower two levels can be accessed by stair or elevator, and they both contain restaurants. The top level can only be reached via elevator.

To build the Eiffel Tower, hundreds of workers used more than 2 million rivets to join together more than 18,000 pieces of iron. Although the building process was risky because of the tower’s open-frame design, Eiffel insisted on safety precautions, and only one worker died during construction.

Believe it or not, the Eiffel Tower was not an immediate hit with the people of Paris. Many considered it to be an eyesore and wanted it to be torn down.

Since it was built for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower was originally meant to be temporary. The City of Paris planned to dismantle the tower after 20 years. However, it proved to be valuable as a radio communications tower, so it was allowed to stay.

Today, of course, the Eiffel Tower is considered an architectural masterpiece that has inspired more than 30 similar towers around the world. More than just a tourist attraction, it also continues to be a valuable communications tool, since it is used to transmit both radio and television broadcast signals.


35 Join the Discussion

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  1. That’s awesome, Martina! We think it’s neat that the video shows what it actually looks and feels like to ride to the top! :-)

  2. I would love to go there. I am prob the ONLY girl in my family that would EVER go on hights like that! i for one LOVE them!!! :) crazzzyyy

    • It IS pretty far up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Geneva, so we understand it might seem a little scary! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today and sharing your comment! :-)

  3. haha thank you for saying i am brave. My brother doesnt think so but thats probably because he is in 8th grade. :)

    • Hello, :-)! The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall (1,063 feet if you include the broadcast antennas at the top). Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Hi there, Kenna! We did some more exploring about your question and found out that it took a little over two years to build the Eiffel Tower. Thank you so much for WONDERing more about this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We think it would be so AWESOME to visit the Eiffel Tower, too, Haylie! When you go, make sure to take lots of pictures to share with your friends here in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Hello, Christina! Lots of different men actually “built” the Eiffel Tower, but the tower was designed by an engineer named Gustave Eiffel. The Eiffel Tower is named for him! Thank you for exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Hello, Cassidy! Thank you for letting us know you liked the video for this Wonder! We liked it, too! It really DOES help you feel like you are actually traveling to the top of the Eiffel Tower! :-)

  4. Hi, this is Shaylie. The Eiffel Tower is really cool. :) I LOVE this website!!! So does my friend Haylie who has commented before!!! :) :) :)

    • Hi, Shaylie! We think it’s super cool that you and your friend, Haylie, have names that rhyme! We WONDER about that neat coincidence! Thank you for visiting this Wonder of the Day® about the Eiffel Tower and leaving us a great comment! :-)

    • You’re SUPER close, Britney! The Eiffle Tower is 984 feet tall. If you add on the broadcast antennas at the top of the tower, it measures 1,063 feet tall! :-)

  5. I would love to go to Paris one day! The Eiffel tower is such an architectural feat! I, myself, want to be an architect one day. I think it would be really cool! :)

  6. Hello WONDERopolis good morning I am in Mrs. Hess’ class. I love the Eiffel Tower oh and by the way Mrs. Hess’ Class met your WONDER Friend. Who is writing to me today you guys rock for writing to everybody on here today and thanks for making this website.

    • Good afternoon, Maria! We are so happy that you and your Wonder Classmates are here today! We hope Mrs. Hess’ children get better soon! :-)

      It’s awesome that you received a note from a Wonder Friend– how cool! We all take turns responding to Wonder comments from our awesome friends like you! Thanks for making Wonderopolis such an awesome place to be, Maria!

      Perhaps you’ll be able to travel to Paris, France to visit the Eiffel Tower in the future! You can visit L’ile de la cité (or the City of Lights, as Paris is called). :)

  7. I went to the Willis Tower in Chicago that was about 300 ft taller then the Eiffel Tower but that wasn’t outside.

  8. Three things to tell you:
    1. Cool wonder! My best friend had a Paris slumber party last year. She had a lot of fun crafts and games to do. My invitation/thank you card had a picture of the Eiffel Tower on both of them.
    2. The video is so awesome! I never knew that the tower has an elevator. 😆
    I didn’t know that the Eiffel Tower is 980 ft.
    3. I went Trick or treating yesterday with my best friend. Trick or treat was supposed to happen on Thursday, but there was a storm, so I trick or treated yesterday. 😆

    • Hi Julie! A Paris slumber party sounds pretty amazing! We are so glad you’re WONDERing with us and have some Halloween candy to munch on in the meantime! :)

  9. Hi. I am doing a Research project on Gustave Eiffel. Can You throw me some facts about him or the Eiffel Tower. My 5th grade teacher loves Wonderopolis. Thank you for creating this website and page. I would want to go to the top of it.

    • You are in luck, Maria! Be sure to check out the Wonder Article below the Wonder Video. It is full of facts about the Eiffel Tower! Enjoy, Wonder Friend! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How tall is the Eiffel Tower?
  • How many people have visited the Eiffel Tower since it opened?
  • Is the Eiffel Tower more than just a tourist attraction?

Wonder Gallery

Paris Eiffel tower_shutterstock_69585910Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Even if you can’t travel to Paris, you can see what the Eiffel Tower looks like right now by checking out this live webcam. If you want to feel like you’re there, check out the view from the ground or from the top!

Younger children will also enjoy playing with the Eiffel Tower by putting together puzzles, playing memory games and decorating their own custom Eiffel Tower with their name and a fireworks display!


Still Wondering

Learn more about the history of Paris by visiting sites at Parisian subway stops using National Geographic Xpeditions’ Paris Scope interactive feature!


Wonder What’s Next?

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