The Eiffel Tower during the 1889 World Exhibition


The Eiffel Tower during the 1889 World Exhibition

The Eiffel Tower was during the entire duration of the 1889 World Exhibition the great attraction, the object of the general attraction, the goal of all visitors, the nail, as the "Parisian" says in his expressive slang and comparative, the highlight of the peaceful celebration of the first centenary of the French Revolution. Every morning a cannon shot from the second platform announced the opening of the gates, and each evening another blow prevented the closing of the galleries. In the evening, the lighthouse was lit and powerful projections of electric light were directed from the fifth platform to 280 meters, on the palaces and monuments of the Champ-de-Mars, while the tower itself blazed down up and down under the action of thousands of lamps, gas burners and Bengal lights placed on all sides. Fairy, unforgettable show, worthy of the splendor of the most dazzling descriptions of the Tales of Thousand and One Nights!


One remembers those first-floor restaurants that have satiated thousands of stomachs, while their eyes wrap around the expanse. The appetite seemed to have grown with the elevation. It was the Brébant restaurant, consisting of two large living rooms, a small salon and two cabinets. The Louis XV style was very pretty. The outdoor terraces overlooked the gardens. The panorama was admirable. It was the restaurant of Alsace-Lorraine, directed by Mr. Boll and served by women in Alsatian costume and in Lorraine costume. It was the Russian restaurant, looking at Paris, with its Muscovite servants, commanded by M. Roffestin, and who poured with so much good humor to visitors altered the Lorraine beer of MM. Tourlel brothers, brewers in Tantonville, near Nancy. - Delightful attention of Russia to France. Then it was still the Anglo-American restaurant, facing the Point-du Jour, with its unique and huge hall, operated by MM. Spiers and Pond, London. Then benches, kiosks, shops, elegant chalets, pastries, refreshments.

It is in the great restaurants that during the Universal Exhibition all official banquets and solemn ceremonies took place.

The price of the climb in 1889

On May 15, 1889, six weeks after its arrival at the announced height of 300 meters, the Eiffel Tower opened its stairs to the public. The final operation of the elevators took place on June 15th and continued successfully under the general supervision of Mr. Millorat, former head of winches during construction. According to the specifications of the company, the concessionaire of this service had statutarily required to raise 2,356 people per hour at the first platform and 750 per hour at the summit. The price of ascents was fixed at 2 francs for the first floor, 3 francs for the second and 5 francs for the summit.

Contrary to what usually happens, prices were lower on Sundays: it was 1 franc to the first platform, 1.50 francs to the second, 2 francs to the top, but this rate was only applied from 11 am to 6 pm For the control or, to be more precise, for taking tickets, the administration has opened for this purpose 16 wickets: 10 on the ground floor, 4 on the first platform and 2 on the second. There were red tickets for the first platform, white for the second and blue for the summit.

The person on the first platform gave his ticket, red on arrival. Not having any more, she could only climb higher if she bought a second ticket - the white that served between the first and the second platform. Finally, to climb to the top, you had to buy a blue ticket, color of the sky. Total: five francs.

What about the pedestrians? Those who were scared or impressed by the elevators had two comfortable staircases at their disposal to service the first platform. That of foot # 4 to climb and that of foot # 2 to go down. They had four at their disposal between the first and second platforms, two for the ascent and two for the descent. Whether you walk or lift, it was the same price, and the tickets were the same. So that tickets once taken, for the summit for example, you could vary its pleasures by doing part of the way one way and the other in another way. Some people had criticized the equality of the price adopted for the two modes of ascension, saying that the person on foot should have paid less than the one who uses the elevators. But we wanted to simplify, at the time, to avoid complications of sale and control. The number of visitors during the period of the World Expo, was several million.

See also:

Symbolism of the Eiffel tower

Commemorative medal

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