Eiffel Is an Eyeful
Some2 300 meters up, near the Eiffel Tower's wind-whipped summit the world comes to scribble3. Japanese,Brazilians, Americans — they graffiti4 their names,loves and politics on the cold iron — transforming the most French of monuments into symbol of a world on the move5.
With Paris laid out in miniature6 below,it seems strange that visitors would rather waste time marking their presence than admiring the view7. But the graffiti also raises a question : Why, nearly 114 years after it was completed,and decades after it ceased to be the world, s tallest structure,is la Tour Eiffel still so popular8?
The reasons are as complex as the iron work that graces9 a structure some 90 stories high. But part of the answer is, no doubt, its agelessness. Regularly maintained, it should never rust away. Graffiti is regularly painted over,but the tower lives on.
"Eiffel represents Paris and Paris is France. It is very symbolic”,says Hugues Richard10,a 31- year-old Frenchman who holds the record for cycling up to the tower's second floor 一 747 steps in 19 minutes and 4 seconds, without touching the floor with his feet. "It's iron lady,It inspires us11 ”, he says.
But to what12? After all,the tower doesn' t have a purpose. It ceased to be the world’ s tallest in 1930 when the Chrysler Building13 went up in New York. Yes,television and radio signals are beamed from the top,and Gustave Eiffel,a frenetic builder who died on December 27,aged 91 ,used its height for conducting research into weather, aerodynamics and radio communication.
But in essence the tower inspires simply by being there _ a blank canvas for visitors to make of it what they will14. To the technically minded15, it's an engineering triumph. For lovers, it's romantic.
"The tower will outlast all