You’re listening to Yves Montand with A Paris, an Odeon record from 1949…

You’re  on the sound Beat.

When you think of Paris, chances are The Eiffel Tower springs to mind. Which is precisely why early detractors, in a letter opposing the Tower’s construction, called it

a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe,

And so on.

Bet they weren’t complaining when the tower relayed communications during the first World War,  helping the Allies win the Battle of the Marne on Paris’ doorstep.

The Tower first opened to the public in 1889. Today the Tower has almost 7 million visitors per year making it the most-visited paid monument in the world. It’s open every day of the year, but during WWII, the Nazis found it closed.

Tower workers, given word of Hitler’s advance towards the city, cut the elevator cords. German soldiers were forced to scale the roughly 1,000 feet. See video.