Been browsing through the fascinating Retronaut website quite a bit recently, all sorts of images from yesteryear, be it old catalogue ads, Max Sennett’s 1920s bathing beauties, old footage from the 1890s and more, well worth bookmarking and browsing through. This is one that caught my eye, some fabulous photos documenting the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
There’s something fascinating about seeing some great landmark construction in its early stages – I remember thumbing through a book I used to sell in my old bookstore which was a photographic history of the mighty Forth Rail Bridge (not dissimilar to La Tour Eiffel if you stood it up, I suppose, both huge Victorian era steel structures, immensely strong yet elegant, both still perfect over a century later, both now indelibly marked onto their respective nation’s psyche and identity).
Seeing just foundations at an area you know well but not yet with its primary landmark, then seeing pics of a partial structure, incomplete yet with enough there for you to recognise as it slowly takes shape into the iconic structure we know today…
And here are some shots of La Tour I took myself over a century later:
Look at the sheer size of the legs close up – if you click on it to go to my Flickr page you can look at the larger version for details, you can make out the staircase inside the legs, a staircase I was walking up ten minutes after taking this photo. Sure, we took the lift from the first floor to the top, but for the first section we walked up through all that metalwork, it’s the best way to experience La Tour if you go.
Looking right up inside the tower:
And here’s a short video I shot standing directly underneath the tower:
Some of the huge wheels which wind the lift cables:
Looking down at how tiny the people look below – and this is just from the first level, not the top!
View from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the City of Light spread out hundreds of feet below:
And looking towards the Champs Elysee, you can see the Arc du Triomphe clearly here, shot from hundreds of feet in the air above my beloved Paris:
And there is old Gustav Eiffel himself – well a waxwork anyway, in a cabin with his blueprints for La Tour on the very top of his magnificent tower:
And here’s another short video, this time from the top, looking across the Parc de Champs du Mars, past the Ecole Militaire towards Montparnasse and the (rather ugly) modern towerblock of the Montparnasse Tower (one of the few large modern buildings in the historic area of the city centre – after this blot they stuck mostly to putting the modern skyscrapers outside the historic area in La Defense):
“Made it, Ma, top of the world!”
God, I miss Paris, I so want to go back and walk her streets and explore her many boulevards, galleries, bookstores, museums, bars…