Since its inauguration as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, the Iron Lady of Paris has been everything but ignored.
While, the most people have always found the tower, charming and romantic, there was a group of artists who despised the wrought iron tower even before it was built. They called themselves a “Committee of Three Hundred” (one member for each metre of the tower’s height) and were led by the prominent architect Charles Garnier, and including some of the most important figures of the arts.
They protested against the construction of “this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower,” famously arguing in their petition against the tower’s construction, “imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream.”
Gustav Eiffel defended the Iron Lady of Paris by comparing his tower to the Egyptian pyramids: “My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?”
Years later, the Eifel Tower triumphantly proved its opponents awfully wrong, and many of the protesters ultimately have changed their minds and have indulged in the tower and its presence.
Guy de Maupassant, the French writer and the master of the short story genre, was among the artist protesters and seemingly never accepted the tower. Defeated by the tower and annoyed by its immense popularity, de Maupassant couldn’t stand the sight of his “iron enemy” which seemed to follow him whenever he wanted to stroll around the center of Pairs. At last de Maupassant thought of a safe place where he can avoid the tower which he obviously despised so much: the Eiffel tower itself. Every day, he had lunch at tower’s base restaurant, just because this was the only place in Paris where the tower was not visible.
Today, Eiffel Tower is widely affirmed as the enduring symbol of Paris, more than 250 million people have visited it since it was completed in 1889. An average of 25,000 people ascends the tower every day, making it the most-visited paid monument in the world.