The Secret Apartment At The Top Of The Eiffel Tower

By Adam Wears on Sunday, December 29, 2013
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“Ninotchka: No, I am looking for the Eiffel Tower.
Leon: Good heavens, is that thing lost again?” —Ninotchka (1939)

In A Nutshell

Opened in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is an iconic building, recognized throughout the world. However, unbeknownst to many, it contains a secret apartment within its highest level. Owned by Gustav Eiffel, the engineer who designed the tower, this apartment was fully decorated and frequently used for social gatherings with individuals, including Thomas Edison.

The Whole Bushel

Designed by Gustav Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most recognisable monuments. Completed in 1899 to a height of 324 meters (1,063 ft), it held the record as the world’s tallest structure until the construction of the Chrysler Building in 1930. It was originally built to serve as an elaborate entranceway into the 1899 Paris World’s Fair and, despite numerous attempts to demolish (or sell) the structure, it still serves the city as a major tourist attraction.

What many people don’t know about the tower is that the highest levels—which after several decades are now open to the public—play host to a private apartment built specifically for Gustav Eiffel, the engineer who designed the tower. Unlike the complex iron-weaved tower in which it lies, it was furnished in a simple manner and contained all the trappings of a modest 19th-century Parisian home, including carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and a small bedroom. Despite this, the apartment was the envy of much of the city; indeed, Eiffel reportedly received several substantial offers for a single night in the apartment. Needless to say, such was his attachment to this highly coveted private space that he turned them all down.

Alongside these furnishings, the apartment also contained a grand piano. This formed the centerpiece of the many parties that were held by Eiffel during his stays in Paris. As many of his guests were dignitaries and other influential men of the age, these gatherings—despite often continuing into the early hours of the morning—were not raucous affairs. On September 10, 1899, one such visitor was Thomas Edison, who wiled away hours with Eiffel smoking cigars, drinking cognac, and discussing Edison’s latest invention, the phonograph.

Show Me The Proof

Eiffel’s Apartment and the Architecture of Dreams
The Tallest Tower, Joseph Harriss
CNET: Eiffel and Edison

  • Lisa

    My mom told me about this when i was a child &you i’ve always wondered if it was true. Now i know, thank you knowledgenuts!

  • Hillyard

    Some of those offers of lots of cash had to be from guys wanting to get lucky on the Eiffel tower.

    • lbatfish

      If successful, that would ALMOST have qualified them for membership in the “(Quarter)-Mile-High Club”.

    • Lisa

      Can you blame them? If i ever go to paris maybe i’ll try that lol

      • lbatfish

        Voulez-vous m’accompagner sur mon prochain voyage à Paris? Et si oui, quel type de Voyage préféreriez-vous — «checked baggage» ou «carry-on»?

        • Lisa

          Well, ibatfish, although it’s been a very long time since i took french in jr high i do believe i get what you said & that is a quality offer. Maybe oui maybe non but you can speak french to me anytime!

  • arto

    it was built in 1889 not 1899

    • vic

      I was thinking the same thing

  • Sweet-Sativa

    I would grow the best ganja up there.

  • Hadeskabir

    I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and didn’t know there was an apartment there, I didn’t even see anything like that there. Makes you wonder, even if you visit a place many times, there’s always much to see and learn. I did see some mannequins there inside a small structure, maybe that was the apartment..

  • Hadeskabir

    This is the apartment, the two mannequins are Gustav Eiffel and Thomas Eddison.

  • Makaveli

    Very interesting!