Elegant Iron: The Eiffel Tower in its Glory

The structure of the Eiffel Tower has not changed much over the past century, but the ideas and culture revolving around this iconic monument have transformed dramatically.  Today, the Eiffel Tower is the single most important feature in Paris, impacting and influencing Parisians, tourists, and daydreamers alike.

The famous iron tower, featured as a backdrop in many movies, novels, and advertisements, seems to mostly evoke romantic and nostalgic emotions. Other common ideas associated with the Eiffel Tower include high fashion, café culture, cobblestone streets, French barets, bread, street art, chocolate, lights, other Parisian attractions, as well as feelings such as love, longing, innovation, and enlightenment.

About 6.7 million tourists visited the Eiffel tower in 2010. The Tower is such an important part of Parisian tourism that it is treated not simply as a monument worthy of visitation, but as a key symbol of the tourist’s pilgrimage to Paris. Tourists spend hundreds of euros on  Eiffel Tower souvenirs whether a key chain, postcard, trinket, or t-shirt. The Eiffel Tower has transformed into a commodity.

Thousands of couples will get engaged at the Eiffel Tower each year. The tower is believed to be the epitome romance. Couples will forever dream of their magical moment at the Eiffel Tower, while others will only fantasized popping the question there.

Others who haven’t been to Paris may also dream of falling in love and living the chic Parisian lifestyle. Those who cannot travel all the way to Europe have the opportunity to still experience the Eiffel Tower.  The Paris Las Vegas resort features prominent use of Parisian imagery to invite guests to travel to a “Paris” born of collective memory.  The hotel attempts to appeal to the universal desire for a romantic escape in Paris, but it is now made possible in the United States.  Walt Disney World’s Eiffel Tower uses a more family friendly approach to the Eiffel Tower. At the World Showcase in  Orlando, Florida, Disney goers can visit a picturesque replica of a cobblestone street in Paris. Cafés and boutiques line the street leading up to an almost identical, yet smaller, Eiffel Tower. Spectators feel as if they are really in the City of Lights without the hustle and bustle.

Replica of Eiffel Tower at Paris themed Hotel in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Paris Resort with the Eiffel Tower replica greeting guests.
France Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort with Replica Eiffel Tower
The France Pavilion at the WDW Resort. The Eiffel Tower replica is the focal point of the attraction.

Moulin Rouge, Ratatouille, Amelie, and The Devil Wears Prada are all movies that feature Paris and the Eiffel Tower as a subliminal icon. Without the Eiffel Tower, these movies would not have been able to convey messages, of romance, gourmet cuisine, everyday Parisian life, and high fashion as effectively to the audience. These movies have a wide spectrum of genres, demonstrating that everyone can relate to the desire of the tower.

Romance novels and advertisements also use the Eiffel Tower as a commodity. The beautiful, mysterious, metal sculpture helps authors sell believable love to interested readers.  Lessons in French by Hilary Reyl, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, and The Chocolate Theif, by Laura Florand are a few popular romance novels using Parisian imagery and icons.

Advertisements for perfume and fashion including the Eiffel Tower, sell not only an idea of Paris but a tangible product. Dior, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nina Ricci, and Givenchy are just a few of the famous designer who have used the iconic tower. These designers and brands leave customers desiring and dreaming of a chic lifestyle.

Advertisement for the perfume Miss Dior Cherie
Popular Dior perfume advertisement showcasing Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
YSL perfume advertisment with Eiffel Tower
YSL perfume advertisement predominately displaying the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is celebrated around the world. Each year, millions of tourists flock to visit the monument. Those who are unable to visit the real tower or replicas like it, travel vicariously to Paris through movies and novels and blog posts that feature the symbol of romance. The fact that you are reading this post means that you too have been seduced by the Eiffel Tower.

Read more about visiting the Eiffel Tower here.

-Jena DiFrisco

Works Cited

“Art and the Eiffel Tower.” Eiffel Tower. N.p.. Web. 28 Oct 2013.     <http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/en/everything-about-the-tower/themed-files/99.html>.

Berger, Arthur Asa. Theorizing Tourism. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press Inc, 2013. 84-85. Print.

Glaser, Stephanie, Keyan Tomaselli, and David Scott.Cultural Icons. Walnut    Creek, California: Left Coast Press Inc, 2009. Print.

Lawrie Van de Ven, Kate. Spectacular Paris: Representations of Nostalgia and   Desire. Paroles gelées. ucla_french_pg_3200. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.   <http://escholarship.org/uc/item/7b43t1s7>

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