Each time I go to Paris, the Eiffel Tower draws me like a magnet. By going up the steps, or riding in the lift, I gain a marvellous view of the City of Light. Far below the tourists sail along the River Seine enjoying the sights. To the north is Montmartre, where Edith Piaf started her career singing in the streets. In the other direction is the Latin Quarter. The city swings along on a multitude of cafes , bistros and bars. At nightime the city is transformed into a sea of light.
My interest in amazing people led me on a search for Gustave Eiffel. He was the great man that the tower which bears his name was built. Recently, I wrote an imaginary interview with him, as if he had come back through time to tell us why he built the Eiffel Tower. Over the last few days, we have made an audio recording of the interview ( called a BioView – as it is a biographical view of his achievements) My friend, Joseph Miller, who was born in the centre of Paris not far from the great Tower, plays the role of Monsieur Eiffel. His expressive Franglais accent gives reality to an extraordinary story.
The Eiffel Tower was built in just 26 months and 5 days!!. The project started in 1887 . Just over two years later it was ready to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution. Three hundred skilled men worked in the cold, the wet and the heat to put the prefabricated metal pieces together. There were no modern cranes to haul materials. No computers to work out the calculations. Yet, they built a perfect design that rises to over 300 metres high. Only one man died during the project and it is said he was taking a risk to impress his girlfriend.
The Eiffel Tower was only licenced to be in Paris for 20 years, as many people objected to it. However, when it became used as a radio transmissions it was saved and is now an international building icon. It has now been a Paris icon for 120 years.So, when next in Paris I hope that you will be able to hear our audio of Gustave Eiffel telling you about his amazing work.
Thanks to tonio_vega for the use of the flickr photo