Scaling the heights of the Eiffel Tower

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM


Since its construction in 1889, more than 250 million people have visited Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower. The highest monument in the world for more than 40 years (today that title is held by Burj Khalifa in Dubai), the Eiffel Tower remains the most visited monument globally. But not everyone has been or can hope to go—until now. If you’ve ever wondered what the view is like from above the City of Light or wanted to learn more about the Tower’s history, now’s your chance to find out.

The Google Cultural Institute and the Eiffel Tower Operating Company have teamed up to create three immersive online exhibitions which blend fascinating historical material with a sprinkling of technological magic. In order to capture the imagery, the Street View team followed in the footsteps of 7 million annual visitors and ascended multiple floors of the Tower. Using the Street View Trolley (designed especially for monuments and museums) they filmed 360-degree views of the monument’s architecture and its views over Paris.



These modern-day Street View panoramas sit alongside nearly 50 archival images, plans, engravings and photos telling the story of the Eiffel Tower’s development and social impact in the 19th century. Some of the archive material is quite rare and precious such as a recording of Gustave Eiffel’s voice by Thomas Edison.



The first exhibition presents the birth of the Eiffel Tower from the initial idea until its realization. You can then follow the construction of the monument step-by-step through photos and sketches. Details on the inauguration and the first visitors lie in the third exhibition, with photos of people admiring the Paris vista on the opening day leading into today’s Street View imagery from the top floor. Did you know that during the Tower’s inauguration for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the elevators were not yet in service but 12,000 people per day rushed to climb the 1710 steps leading to the top?


As a product manager and designer, it’s been awe-inspiring to get to see the spectacular vision and the detailed architectural capabilities exemplified by the plans more than 100 years ago. It required tremendous knowledge of special planning and physics to ensure that 18,000 separately made pieces would come together as one. So if you’ve never visited the Eiffel Tower before, want to get insider knowledge or simply want to re-discover it in a new way, visit our site and immerse yourself in one of the most well-known attractions on the planet.