Last year, the first floor of the Eiffel Tower underwent a total renovation. Added is a glass floor from which you can look down at the ant-sized people below.
The renovated pavilions now welcome visitors to sit and gaze at the breathtaking views of Paris from these heights, as well as to explore the history of the tower along the marked perimeter walkway that leads you around the first floor.
Construction of the Eiffel Tower's first level, spring 1888 — Photo courtesy of Public Domain
The Tower's Recent Refurbishment Project
Completed in 2014 was a major refurbishment of the tower's first floor. The two pavilions – the Eiffel Pavilion and the Ferrié Pavilion – were completely re-designed and refurbished.
The façade of the pavilion housing the restaurant, 58 Tour Eiffel, was entirely redone to meld aesthetically and visually with the overhauled pavilions.
New features include the following:
- A fully accessible level
- A spectacular spatial experience
- New pavilions
- A museography pathway through the history of the Eiffel Tower
Radio saved the tower? The Eiffel Tower was set to be demolished until it was discovered to be a highly strategic radio transmission tower during the wars — Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
This first floor now offers visitors much in the way of attractions, relaxation, cultural immersion and refreshments.
In the Eiffel Pavilion, there's space enough for 200 seated or 300 standing people to enjoy a conference, a seminar or a cocktail. The sweeping panoramic views over the city – and its height at 57 meters above the ground – give a sense of being still part of the city while floating high above it.
The two-story Ferrié Pavilion offers visitors options. On the upper floor, there's an immersive multimedia program shown on three screens using seven projectors that takes visitors into the extraordinary contemporary architectural world of the Eiffel Tower.
Another all-new feature here is the rest and relaxation areas and also the extended views over the city, which have been achieved by the architects' introduction of connection of spaces and more extensive glazing.
The entry-level floor of the Ferrié Pavilion has maintained its restaurants and shops, which have also been reconfigured and refreshed. They feature reproductions of items from the Eiffel Tower collection.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris was originally built by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 — Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
The Museography and Greater Accessibility
In addition the spectacular glass floor that has been added, there's also now a cultural pathway, the museography, that guides visitors around the outdoor spaces of the first floor.
This pathway is punctuated with interactive and largely digital self-guided information kiosks, in both French and English, designed around two key themes: the tower as a symbol of a modernizing world and the work of Gustave Eiffel.
This interactive self-guided pathway/course also features digital albums, touchscreens, book stalls, showcases and information screens.
The Eiffel Tower's recently completed refurbishment project aimed to remove obstacles to public accessibility and set a new standard in this arena for public historical monuments. All obstacles to mobility-impaired visitors were either removed or clearly signed, lighting was changed and anti-slip surfaces were added to all floors.
The pavilions have elevators now, and a ramp connects the outer gallery with the Champ-de-Mars terrace. Even the cultural pathway has been adapted to allow sight-impaired visitors enjoyment of the experience.
Fun Facts about the Eiffel Tower
One of the first things you'll learn on your self-guided tour of the tower's first floor now is that in 1889 – when the iconoclastic tower was finished in time to help celebrate the 100th year of the French Revolution at Paris' Universal Exhibition – the world hailed what some called a monstrosity and others an architectural feat.
It eventually came to be known as La Tour Eiffel, named after its architect Gustave Eiffel. But the "Iron Lady" (or La Dame de Fer, in French) is the nickname locals christened their Eiffel Tower shortly after it was constructed, and the nickname stuck.
Here are a few other interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower:
- Original height: 1,024 feet or 312 meters (to the tip of the flagpole)
- Current height (including aerials): 1,063 feet or 324 meters
- Number of steps (via the east pillar to the top): 1,665 steps
- Paint used (for every 7-year repaint): 60 tonnes
- Visitor numbers: Over 250 million visitors since opening in 1889
Tip: You can book a tour through Paris City Segway Tours to skip the line at the Eiffel Tower.