Building The Eiffel Tower: Three Google Exhibitions Revisit the Birth of the Great Parisian Monument


One of the most stun­ning views a trav­el­er can have in Paris is to round a cor­ner and see the mas­sive four-legged base of the Eif­fel Tow­er. One of the beau­ti­ful things about Eiffel’s tow­er is that it is so colos­sal and yet so airy and del­i­cate.

The view from the top is also amaz­ing (though truth be told the views from Notre Dame and Sacré-Coeur may be bet­ter because they include the Eif­fel Tow­er too)—so much so that Google pho­tog­ra­phers hoist­ed their panoram­ic Street View cam­era into the tow­er and record­ed breath­tak­ing views from the three main lev­els.

The day Google showed up was a typ­i­cal­ly over­cast Paris day. The sky is even a lit­tle threat­en­ing. After so much gaz­ing out at the city, you might want to dip into a café for un petit café crème.

But keep your lap­top with you. The Street View exhib­it is one of three that Google now offers about the tow­er. Google’s Cul­tur­al Insti­tute col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Eif­fel Tow­er Oper­at­ing Com­pa­ny to cre­ate three addi­tion­al exhibits: The Birth of the Eif­fel Tow­er, the tower’s con­struc­tion, and anoth­er about its inau­gu­ra­tion and ear­ly vis­i­tors.

One of the coolest pieces of archival mate­r­i­al is a record­ing of tow­er engi­neer Gus­tave Eiffel’s voice made by Thomas Edi­son, who was a big fan of the tow­er.

Built to dis­play France’s engi­neer­ing prowess at the cen­te­nary of the French Rev­o­lu­tion, the tower’s con­struc­tion is amaz­ing to con­tem­plate. Four men were need­ed to install one riv­et: one to heat it up, anoth­er to hold it in place, a third to shape the head and a fourth to beat it with a sledge­ham­mer. A total of 2,500,000 riv­ets were used to hold the tow­er togeth­er.

For a much old­er view of the ride up the tower’s ele­va­tor, check out this film by the Lumière broth­ers, made the year the tow­er opened in 1898.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Climb Three of the World’s High­est Peaks on Google Street View

Google Street View Takes You on a Panoram­ic Tour of the Grand Canyon

Google Street View Opens Up a Look at Shackleton’s Antarc­tic

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mskaterix. Learn more about her work by vis­it­ing .

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.