Google Doodle celebrates opening of the Eiffel Tower

March 31, 2015 • 7:00 am

Today’s Google Doodle (screenshot below, click on it to go to it) celebrates the 126th anniversary to the day of the opening of the Eiffel Tower.  And it’s a particularly lovely one, isn’t it?:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 6.07.23 AMAs Time Magazine notes:

Construction of the iron lattice structure, named after engineer Gustave Eiffel, began on Jan. 28, 1887. Despite the early protests, the tower was an instant hit, with an estimated 30,000 people climbing its steps in the first weeks — before even an elevator was installed.

Eventually, it grew into a worldwide landmark; as TIME wrote during last year’s 125th anniversary celebrations, “the tower became more than a tower, and more than a symbol of Paris.”

At 1,063 ft. high, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over four decades, until it was surpassed by New York City’s Chrysler Building in 1930.

The Doodle itself features a group of supposedly French painters hanging precariously from the tower as they beautify the Grande Dame of Paris.

But they left out the artist, which The Guardian helpfully supplies:

The doodle, by French visual development artist Floriane Marchix [JAC: Her website is here], shows the tower being painted by cheery workmen in berets and overalls, swinging from the tower.

I have to confess that although I must have lived in Paris for a year in the three long stints I was there, I never went up the tower, nor had the desire to (there’s also a restaurant, the Jules Verne, halfway up, and it’s said to be good).  And if you’re somewhat morbid, you’ll want to know that jumping off the Tower is the third most popular means of suicide in France, after hanging and poisoning. A happier note: one woman who jumped survived after landing on the roof of a car, and later married the owner of the car!


22 thoughts on “Google Doodle celebrates opening of the Eiffel Tower

  1. The view from the top is spectacular, especially the prospect that takes in the Champs-Élysées.

    Even my wife, who’s afraid of heights, enjoyed it.

    I can’t comment on the JV restaurant though; we were too early for lunch.


  2. “One woman who jumped survived after landing on the roof of a car, and later married the owner of the car.”

    See? God works in mysterious ways.

    1. Nah, nothing to do with God.
      The car was an open-top model, so the woman landed safely in the back seat. The driver merely applied the law of finders-keepers.

    2. He must have been a very tolerant and forgiving man. I’m not sure I’d want to marry someone who just destroyed my car 😉

  3. There’s an excellent book on the construction of the tower: Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes. I enjoyed this book very much. Highly recommended.

  4. I can’t remember his name, but there was an artist living in Paris at the turn of the 20thC who absolutely despised the Eiffel Tower, thinking it an eyesore that ruined the look of ‘his’ beautiful city, and he could hardly bear even looking at it.
    So much did he hate that magnificent edifice that the Tower’s restaurant was the only Parisian restaurant he used, because it was, he said, the only decent place where one could eat in Paris without having to see the tower from the windows.

  5. We walked up the lower portion last summer, I’d recommend this. We also waiting in line around an hour for the elevator ride to the top. The view from the top is spectacular, but the elevator ride is claustrophobic.

    1. “the elevator ride is claustrophobic”

      Well, if you don’t like confined spaces, yes.

      The second lift is exciting, especially if you don’t like heights (e.g., my wife; see above), since the cars have large windows and you can see all the way

      Quite a few folks took the stairs down from the mid level (where you change lifts); you could walk up if you were fit enough (I’m not!).

      You can shortcut the queue for the lifts if you buy your tickets in advance online (maybe also from B&M outlets).


      1. One interesting thing about the Eiffel Tower is that around the middle in giant letters are the names of 72 prominent scientists (I remember Laplace, Cauchy, Fourier, Foucault). It’s fun to see how many you can recognize. It seems to be if a monument was erected today in the US it would be unlikely to include the names of prominent scientists, more likely prominent politicians.

        1. Also Lavoisier, Ampere, Navier, Daguerre, Carnot, Coulomb, Fresnel, Poisson, Becquerel, Coriolis, de Dion and, I’m very pleased to see, Giffard**.

          So it included engineer-inventors, too.

          (I’m cheating with the names, when I was there I took a photo of each side of the Tower just for that reason).

          (**Henri Giffard invented the exhaust steam injector for steam locomotives. That has always seemed to me to be the most incredibly sophisticated and counter-intuitive device I can think of – using exhaust steam at maybe 15 psi to force water into a boiler at 250 psi, with no moving parts. He also invented the airship, but that was much less significant.)

          1. Henri’s brother, Paul Giffard, invented the CO2 rifle, a couple of which I used to own in my airgun collecting days.

  6. I remember, dimly, my visit to the Tower from my time in Paris for a week in the 1990s as a teenager. The architecture was impressive – the high prices in the restaurant were not. (We didn’t eat there.)

    On the other hand, the view from the Empire State Building in NY was more memorable (I can still picture it. Admittedly that was 3 or so years later, though.)

    1. Brave, yes. Foolhardy, possibly. But think of the lives potentially saved by parachutes and what he was doing was hardly pointless.

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