Tour Eiffel / Eiffel Tower

Arrondissement 7

The symbol of Paris

Gustave Bonickhausen-Eiffel was allowed legally to drop the first half of his surname in 1880, just in time to borrow the idea and to win the 1886 competition to build the world’s tallest tower for the May 5 1889 opening of the Great Universal Exhibition in Paris.

Work building the Eiffel Tower started on January 28 1887 and it was finished on March 31 1889. Only one person died during its construction

Despite being the commemoration of the French Revolution in which, momentarily, the powerful had nearly lost control of events to the politicised workers of Paris, the Eiffel Tower rapidly became Paris’ symbol of modernism and over the next century and more, of Paris itself. It was the logical place for the first wireless telegraphic message to be sent from it to the Panthéon on November 10 1898.

Many left poets and artists have expressed their feelings about the Tour Eiffel in the Champs de Mars.

The Calligramme of the Eiffel Tower was published in 1918 in ‘Poems of Peace and War, 1913-1916’ by Guillaume Appolinaire
Two paintings by Delaunay

In 1975 Louis Aragon published this poem, La Tour Parle, dedicated to Robert Delaunay who started painting his famous Eiffel Tower series in 1908 and stopped only twenty years later. Two of them are shown above.

Vous du Métro

Dans le soir avec mes yeux phosphore orage / C’est moi que les collégiens de leurs mains ivres / Caressent sans savoir pourquoi / Ils lèvent leur front lourd les enfants des péniches

La balle échappe à leurs doigts gourds / Quand le fleuve en passant baigne mes pieds et chante

Voici voici la grande femelle bleue / La dame au corsage de jalousie / Elle est tendre elle est nouvelle / Ses rires sont des incendies

jeunesse de marelle où vas-tu sauter / Vois nos mains traversées d’alcool et de sang bleu / Laisse-nous respirer tes cheveux de métal

Mais accroupi dans mes jupes / Que fait près de moi ce régime de bananes

Paris paysage polaire / Mon corps de lévrier dans le vent chaud / Le sentez-vous comme il est rose / Comme il est blanc comme il est noir

Femmes léchez mes flancs d’où fuit FL FL / Le bulletin météorologique

Messieurs posez vos joues rasées / Contre mes membres adossés aux cieux / Où les oiseaux migrateurs / Nichent

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