Gustave celebrated Eiffel for the centenary of his death before perhaps an entry to the Pantheon

Gustave celebrated Eiffel for the centenary of his death before perhaps an entry to the Pantheon

The centenary of the death of Gustave Eiffel will be celebrated on December 27, 2023. AFP/Douglas Magno

The operator of the monument and the descendants of the engineer (1832-1923) will honor his memory on December 27. They also announced that they have applied for pantheonization.

The memory of Gustave Eiffel, father of the famous wrought iron tower, will be celebrated on the occasion of the centenary of his death in 1923, announced Thursday the operator of the monument and the descendants of the engineer, who filed a request of pantheonization.

During a press briefing Jean-François Martins, president of Sete (Eiffel Tower operating company), in which the City of Paris holds 99% of the capital, declared: “At the end of the 19e century, building a 300 meter high tower in the heart of Paris, the tallest in the world at the time, is an incredible challenge, on the order of science fiction“.

Sure of the importance for the city’s influence of holding this commemoration, this Paris councilor immediately added: “We need scientists, people who believe it is possible to solve great equations deemed impossible, as Eiffel did. We need to celebrate the spirit and creative genius that was his to collectively restore scientific ambition at a time when the climate issue poses a number of technological challenges.»

The events will take place from May to November. In Paris, visitors to the Iron Lady will be able to immerse themselves in the world of Gustave Eiffel thanks to an immersive journey during which the engineer will appear to tell the story of this initially controversial construction. A UNESCO-certified exhibition will be installed on the forecourt of the monument during the summer and the tower will be the scene in the fall of an electro performance by DJ Michaël Canitrot. A commemorative stamp will also be marketed from March 27.

In addition to those made in France (Garabit viaduct, framework of the Palais Galliera, dome of the observatory in Nice, bridges in Bordeaux and Chinon, etc.), several hundred works designed by Eiffel and its workshops have been identified around the world. . Among them, the frame of the emblematic Statue of Liberty in New York, the Porto bridge over the Douro, the Budapest train station, but also bridges in China, Vietnam, Egypt and Bolivia, churches in Peru and Chile…
A census is still in progress, in particular of lighthouses built on the Baltic Sea, in Estonia.

A request for pantheonization

On the occasion of the centenary, the ADGE association, which brings together around fifty descendants of the Eiffel family, filed a request a few weeks ago for their ancestor to be pantheonized at the Élysée. “Gustave Eiffel shines the image of France around the world because he has never stopped innovating. He embodies industrial France and will have been a leader with advanced social ideas“, pleads his great-great-granddaughter Myriam Larnaudie-Eiffel, who believes”urgent need to restore importance to the scientific pantheon which is currently insufficiently represented“.

A chemist by training, the centralien has in fact spent more than 25 years doing research in aeronautics and aerodynamics, an often ignored part of his life. Born in Dijon in 1832, Gustave Bonickhausen, known as Eiffel, was to take over his uncle’s chemical factory but he finally turned to metal construction, following a family quarrel. The Eiffel Tower consecrates the international reputation of the engineer, who received 14 French and foreign decorations in his career, including that of “Dignitary of the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun“.

In 2022, the Eiffel Tower welcomed 6.2 million visitors and some 21 million in total on the forecourt, for a turnover of 100 million euros, 80% of which came from ticketing, according to Sete. The monument is currently undergoing a 20th painting campaign to preserve the structure from corrosion. An investment of 84 million euros for work that takes place on average every seven years.

Built in just two years for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was originally designed to last 20 years and accommodate 500,000 people. At first controversial, it then became a symbol of Paris and then of France.

TO HAVE ALSO – History & Heritage: what remains of the Universal Exhibition of 1867

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