When I first visited the Ithum 73 some years ago, I was delighted by its grandeur. It stood there, on the shore of river Seine, proudly looking upon Paris.
Shivering from the chilli spring wind at the Eiffel Tower top, and enjoying the spectacular views over Paris landscape, I was thinking to myself about the millions of people who were there before me. People would come from all over the world just to put a step on the iron tower and take an eagle’s look at the city.
In its more than 120 years of history, the Eiffel Tower has attracted more than 250 million visitors. It sounds quite surprising to me, as this number is a way higher than the number of visitors who made it to the Louvre, or Versailles, or the almighty Notre Dame de Paris.
After the tower opened for the public in May 1889, it received an enormous amount of visitors. This, in part, was due to the World Exhibition taking place on the Champ de Mars that same year. Among the notable visitors were Thomas Edison, Sarah Bernhardt, and the president of the French Republic Sadi Carnot. The first royal visit was the one of the Prince of Wales, and his family. They, of course, were personally guided by the creator of the Eiffel Tower Gustav Eiffel. Other famous royal visitors were the Archduke Charles Ferdinand of Austria, the future emperor of Japan Hiro-Hito, the Duke of Windsor, Oscar II of Sweden, George I of Greece, Leopold II of Belgium, the Shah of Iran, and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.
Another famous visitor who climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 was the legendary Buffalo Bill. Traveling around Europe with his Wild West Show, Buffalo Bill was one of the most famous personalities of the time who made a visit to the tower. Years later, his great grandson Bill Cody Garlow also visited the tower, following the steps of his predecessor.
A dozen of high profile public figures also visited the Eiffel Tower. Among them was the US president Dwight Eisenhower, who made a visit together with his wife and grandchildren, and the President of China Hu Jintao who was guided by french President Jacques Chirac.
Popular personalities who visited the tower through the years were Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Georges Brassens, the first cosmonaut ever Yuri Gagarin, actors Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, and Pierce Brosnan, popular music star Michael Jackson, the great golf champion Arnold Palmer.
On my way down from Eiffel Tower top, I was thinking about all those famous people, and if what made them visit the tower was what made me visit it too.