Rising Above The Negativity
If you have ever felt unloved and unwanted, or if you have never been told that you are beautiful, you should take inspiration from the Eiffel Tower. The ‘Iron Lady’ faced a barrage of abuse before she had even entered this world and she was met with a mixed reception once she was brought to life. Despite this negativity, she went on to become France’s national treasure and a global icon.
A Valentine's Day Declaration of Hate
Plans to create the tower resulted in the formation of a group of prominent artists who protested the proposal. A petition called ‘Artists against the Eiffel Tower’ included a scathing letter which was published in 1887, on the 14th February of all days. The group, which included writers, painters and architects, stated that they: “…protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection…of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower.”
This was hardly a Valentine’s Day declaration of love.
An Instant Hit With The Public But The Criticism Persisted
The Eiffel Tower was constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair, otherwise known as the Exposition Universelle. Not only was the tower a success at the fair, drawing almost two million visitors, it was an instant hit with the general public. As crowds flocked to the city’s new attraction, criticism from a section of French society persisted.
The artist Guy de Maupassant reportedly ate in the tower’s restaurant every day, as this was the only place in Paris where the ‘Iron Lady’ was not visible. Whether this was merely a fanciful tale to illustrate the artist’s disdain or he really did go to such lengths, we can all take some solace in the fact that nobody has resorted to such actions in order to avoid looking at us. At least, I hope that they have not.
The protesting artists had referred to the prospect of a “ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack.” However, Carol and I were thrilled every time that we caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower during our trip to Paris in 2018. We would be casually strolling through the city streets, only for one of us to excitedly point to the sight of our favourite Parisian lady.
Not Just a Pretty Face
The relationship between the tower and the city of Paris was only supposed to last until 1909, as Gustave Eiffel’s company had only acquired a twenty-year permit. City officials had planned to dismantle it, but they had a change of heart because the tower could be used for communication and meteorological purposes. This lady was intelligent as well as beautiful.
The Eiffel Tower has shown an admirable resilience and determination throughout the years. It survived the Nazi occupation and several fires, as well as rumoured plans to loan it to the Canadian city of Montreal. Over one hundred and thirty years later, even after losing the prestigious title of the world’s tallest man-made structure, she is now one of the planet’s most revered icons. It is the most-visited paid monument in the world.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
One American woman took her love for the ‘Iron Lady’ to extreme lengths by ‘marrying’ the Eiffel Tower in 2007. Following the commitment ceremony, she spoke of her instant attraction to the wrought-iron lattice structure. Carol and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Eiffel Tower but neither of us felt the urge to propose to her! This was probably for the best, given that we had only been married to each other for three months!
The history of the Eiffel Tower demonstrates how beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that even the most successful and admired icons have had to endure rejection, negativity and criticism at some point in their lifetime. Like the tower, we must rise above this in order to fulfil our potential. It can take time, but the world may well eventually see your true beauty.