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From the February 2018 Newsletter:

The Eiffel Tower

As the Iron Lady celebrates its 300 millionth visitor here are 13 facts about the Eiffel Tower that you might not know.

It's nearly 130 years since the famous Iron Lady was inaugurated in time for the 1889 World Fair in Paris and it still draws enormous crowds. It is now the most visited paid monument in the world and around seven million people climb its stairs or take the lift to one of its three levels each year. Indeed some 300 million have peered over Paris from one of its floors since it was first opened. But it’s worth remembering that it was not always this popular.

When construction began in July 1887, a group of around 300 artists, sculptors and architects sent a petition to the commissioner of the Paris exhibition demanding that he halt construction of the “ridiculous tower”. Thankfully for Paris’s tourist industry their complaints were ignored.

Here are 12 facts about the Eiffel Tower, that you (probably) didn't know.

1. It took two years, two months and five days to build the Eiffel Tower, with construction beginning in 1887.

2. It cost 7,799,401.31 French gold Francs to build the monument. We’re not sure what the equivalent is in euros, but it sounds like a lot for back in the late 1880s.

3. The height is 324 metres, including the antenna at the top which works out at 1,063 feet. Without the antenna it is 300 metres tall (984 feet).

4. The tower grows six inches in the sun and shrinks in the cold, although this is hard to see with the naked eye.

5. It weighs 10,000 tonnes.

6. It was originally designed to last 20 years and was built by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the French Revolution and show off France’s industrial might. The removal men were meant to pull it down after 20 years, but Eiffel appears to have persuaded them to have a change of heart. The fact that the tower could be used as a wireless telegraph transmitter, made it fairly useful and saved it from the wrecking ball.

7. The distance one lift travels in a year is 103,000 kilometres according the site livescience.com, which is two and a half times the circumference of the earth. There are 1710 steps up to the top but visitors can only walk up to the first floor.

8. It has been repainted 18 times over the years. It takes a mammoth 60 tonnes of paint to give it a first coat.

9. It was the world’s tallest building for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York came along and stole its mantle.

10. 250 million people have paid a visit to the Eiffel Tower over the years.

11. The Eiffel Tower could have been pulled down in 1944. Hitler ordered the German military governor of France to tear it down but he refused.

12. The tower sways six to seven metres in the wind.