- anniversary - exhibitions - France - French culture - Paris
The Eiffel Tower, which celebrates the 120th anniversary of its opening on May 15, is one of the most-recognised, photographed and visited landmarks in the world. To date, almost 244 million visitors have taken the lift or braved the stairs to the top.
Made with 18,000 individual pieces held together by 2.5 million rivets, the structure - truly space-age when built to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889 - was not universally welcomed.
Author Guy de Maupassant called it an "ungracious giant skeleton", yet ate at its restaurant every day once it was built - it being the "one place in Paris where you couldn't see it" (although it should be noted that because most of Paris is built to seven floors, the tower is generally not visible).
But since 1889, Gustav Eiffel's initially temporary construction (he only had 20 years' planning permission and it was to be taken down) has become a symbol of both France and Paris.
Sporting a smart new paint-job (its 18th) the Eiffel Tower is promoting an exhibition on the first floor, running from May 15, the anniversary of its first opening, until the end of the year.