Whether you are a French teacher, the parent of an enthusiastic future architect, a traveler ready to go to Paris, or you’re a kid doing a report on France: here is everything you need to learn about the Eiffel Tower. We’ve got 10 crazy facts about the Eiffel Tower, a fabulous lesson plan with an informational text and questions, some nonfiction and fiction children’s books about its history and setting, fantastic videos to see how it was built, and even some travel books JUST FOR KIDS!
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10 Fun Facts about the Eiffel Tower
- The architect of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, also made the Statue of Liberty!
- It was built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution.
- It took 18,000 pieces of iron and 2.5 million rivets to make!
- At the time, it was the tallest structure in the world.
- It was used to radio transmission (and still is!).
- It is re-painted every 7 years. First it was reddish brown, and once it was yellow!
- There are 7 million visitors each year, the most visited paid-for monument in the world.
- Visitors can climb up stairs to the first two levels or take a lift which also has access to the third and highest level. To climb from bottom to the top, you’d have to climb 1,665 steps.
- During cold weather the tower shrinks by about six inches.
- Gustave Eiffel kept a small apartment of the third floor for entertaining friends. It is now open to the public.
Teach your students and kids the story and significance behind the Eiffel Tower in this lesson about French culture and history.
This mini-lesson can be adjusted for different grade levels:
- Younger grades (preK-3) can color the coloring sheet of the Eiffel Tower, while teachers can read the story of the Eiffel Tower aloud to them.
- Grades 4+ will read the story of the Eiffel and learn the significance of the monument and its history (in English), plus some fascinating facts about this symbol of France. Students will answer comprehension questions (who, what, where, why, when, how, + opinion).
- This information text is a great way to introduce culture to ELA or ESL. I have even used this at the high school level for my ESL students.
This mini-lesson can be used in social studies classes, in a unit on France, during International Week, or for a cultural lesson in French class. Because students can work independently on the worksheet, teachers may include this in their emergency substitute plans as well.
Learning about the Eiffel Tower can happen any time of year, but here are some important dates to keep in mind:
March 31st– in 1889 the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated
July 14th– Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
Books about the Eiffel Tower for Kids
Gustave Eiffel’s Spectacular Idea: The Eiffel Tower (The Story Behind the Name), by Sharon Katz Cooper. This is the book you are looking for to explain Gustave’s Eiffel’s beginnings and development on his tower, and learn about the Eiffel Tower throughout history. If your kids like architecture, check out these books that showcase famous buildings around the world.
Madame Martine, by Sarah S. Brannen. This is a cute fictional story of a woman who ends up exploring the Eiffel Tower (for her first time) as she searches for her runaway dog. The illustration of the view from the top is stunning.
E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet (Discover the World), by Helen L. Wilbur. This is an alphabet book, with each letter representing something different in France. Our library had it, and the page on the Eiffel Tower was beautiful! It would be a great book to have out while studying anything French.
Where is the Eiffel Tower? by Dina Anastasio. This chapter book is perfect for kids ages 8-12. I really like the format of this book, and how it describes history, from the very beginning of the Eiffel Tower’s fame at the World Fair.
I have included these two travel guides for Paris for kids to learn about Paris before (or during) a family trip to the “City of Lights.”
First, City Trails – Paris, by Lonely Planet Kids, and Helen Greathead. This book is packed with cool facts, stories, and secrets to learn about Paris beyond the regular tourist sights. Even though it is aimed at kids ages 9-12, the adults will want to read it too!
The second guidebook is Mission Paris: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure, by Catherine Aragon. What a cool idea for a book! It is a spy-themed scavenger hunt, where kids get points by searching for clues and discovering the history of different monuments and buildings. I have never seen anything like this, and highly recommend it for family travel to Paris.
Videos to Learn about the Eiffel Tower
You are now officially an expert on the iconic Eiffel Tower, overlooking Paris, France!