Paris Tips: The Eiffel Tower’s Beauty Secrets
By Theadora Brack
Today I’ve decided to share a few of the Eiffel Tower’s beauty secrets. How does the century-old glamazon manage to keep her good looks? Maybe it’s Maybelline or perhaps it’s the 2.5 million rivets holding together the 20,000 square meters of intricate iron latticework. Never a mess, don’t hate her because she is still beautiful.
Doll back the clock: Oblong and ruler-straight from shoulder to hip, the Eiffel Tower was built in 1887 by visionary architect Gustave Eiffel (the Couturier in Iron!) to serve as a showstopper at the Exposition Universelle. On inauguration day, Monsieur Eiffel signed an adoring female visitor’s fan with the inscription: “The French flag is the only one with a 300-meter pole.” Mais oui.
The Eiffel Tower’s colossal measurements are more than impressive. Rangy and long-limbed, the 1,046-foot-tall stunner stood heads above the other structures on the planet from 1889 until 1930. Her shapely 620 foot “gams” rely on their curvaceous geometry to carry the wind pressure so she doesn’t topple over into the Seine on a blustery day.
Everyone knows it’s Windy
So take cover! Wind, the dominant natural force affecting her, is strongest at the top, but most of it blows through her and not against her because of her airy wrought iron. Well, almost! She has been known to jiggle on a gusty day—but only a few inches. Although crease-proof with a steely core, such constant change can wreak havoc on the complexion.
So what’s a gal to do?
The Tower’s beauty regimen involves 60 tons of paint, which must be applied at least every seven years to protect her from rust. Each paint job takes 15 to 18 months. Thinking ahead, Eiffel nailed it when he said, “The more meticulous the paint job, the longer the Tower shall endure.”
Through the years the colors have varied from dark red to a bright yellow, and from dark chocolate to her current “Brun Tour Eiffel”—a special grayish-brown hue. To emphasize her fabulous silhouette as seen from the ground, there are actually three different shades of the hue that change from dark to light, the higher up you go.
More tidbits: Painters must follow traditional methods, which haven’t changed since her débutante days. Paint must be applied manually, with brushes and rollers. Leave the paint guns at home. Lastly, work may not start until each morning’s dew has evaporated. Now that’s a spa-worthy treatment!
Shooting the Tower
Like the moon and stars, the Eiffel Tower is a free show from almost anywhere in the city, but better yet go there at least once. Just do it! Looking for a picture-perfect shot? Shoot up from below, center stage. Here the tower’s iron lattice resembles classic French black lace knickers. Oh, la la.
Le Mur pour la Paix (The Wall for Peace) is another favorite spot. Located on the southeast end of the grassy Champ de Mars (near the École Militaire), it was created in 2000 by artist Clara Halter and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The word “peace” in 49 languages is inscribed on large glass panes and tall, slender metal columns.
Gaze up at the Eiffel Tower through the monument’s glass panels, and try not to feel a bit more mellow. Where is the love? Trust me, it’s here. Tips: For optimum viewing, the glass and metal play nicely against the soft late afternoon sun. Also, advance tickets are now available online. Life is groovy!
Seize the day!
But for heaven’s sake, don’t forget your sunblock, day cream and powder puff! As Florence Nightingale Graham (a.k.a. Elizabeth Arden) used to say, “The investments of a little care now will bring you tremendous dividends in the years to come!”