French artist creates a wondrous optical illusion in the backdrop of Eiffel tower

French artist creates a wondrous optical illusion in the backdrop of Eiffel tower

When French contemporary artist Jean Rein unveiled his latest art installation, it was met in awe, as it gave the impression of cliffs below the Eiffel Tower. He created an optical illusion that shows a giant Eiffel Tower in black and white, its feet standing across a precipice between two cliffs and its top cropped, to reveal the real Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel tower, a Parisian landmark is a scientific masterpiece in building-construction history. It is said that when the French government was organising the International Exposition of 1889 to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution, a competition was held for designs for a suitable monument. Out of the 100 plans submitted, noted bridge engineer Gustave Eiffel’s was instantly accepted. His concept of a 300-meter (984-foot) tower built almost entirely of open-lattice wrought iron aroused wonder, scepticism, and no little opposition on aesthetic grounds. When completed, the tower served as the entrance gateway to the exposition.

The illusion is viewed perfectly from a certain angle, prompting a queue of visitors, taking photos while jumping across the "cliffs." JR unveiled his latest piece on the day that restaurant terraces re-opened, and Parisians were eager to return to a form of normalcy. To create the installation, JR set up a plastic screen on the Trocadéro, a tourist spot about a kilometre away from the Eiffel Tower that offers a beautiful view of the monument. By playing with proportions in the image, JR has made the Eiffel Tower seem much closer than it really is, and the person standing in the image looks like they are underneath it. It creates the optical illusion of a craggy ravine.

This is not the first time that the 38-year-old artist has made such wondrous installations. In 2019 he positioned thousands of pieces of paper in the courtyard of the Louvre in Paris, making it appear as if the glass pyramid entrance was shattering the rock below. In 2017, he took on then-President Donald Trump’s border wall by creating a giant baby’s head peering from the U.S. into Mexico. The portraits he installed at the depraved streets of Nairobi and Favelas of Rio were internationally acclaimed.

The Eiffel tower is getting ready to open its doors to visitors in July post the pandemic. Tickets are available for the tourists from June 1. If things go according to the plan, it will be open from July 16 under strict Covid protocols. Last year due to the pandemic, the tower was closed for a long period. Yearly they get over 70 lakh visitors.

Things to know before visiting Eiffel tower

Know its history: You will greatly gain by reading up a bit about its history. The tower was built for the Paris Exposition of 1889, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Gustave Eiffel headed up construction, finishing the tower in just over two years. The original plan was to destroy the Eiffel Tower 20 years after the Paris Exposition. Eiffel wanted to preserve his tower, and he figured out a way to save his pet project. He argued that the Eiffel Tower could serve as a place for astronomical and weather observations. It could serve as a telegraph communications point. It would be perfect for studies of the wind. Eiffel put it this way: “It will be for everyone an observatory and a laboratory the likes of which has never before been available to science.” So, the Eiffel Tower exists today because of its scientific contributions. These include services as a wireless transmitter site during World War I, and later, as a place for radio and television broadcasting.

Take your time to explore: The Eiffel Tower is 1,000 feet tall, with four substantial legs anchoring it to the ground. This also means you should take time to explore. You can see a lovely park and a pond located right under one of the legs. Give yourself a few hours to walk around and under the structure. Enjoy the different viewpoints.

If you want to take the lift, book online: You can either walk up into the tower or take the lift. If you want to ride up, it is best to buy your tickets online before your visit. Emailed tickets will be time-stamped and show the names of everyone at your party. Show up 15 minutes before your assigned time, and you will likely board the lift in short order.

Decide in advance which levels you want to visit: The lift goes to three levels. You can choose to go up only as high as the second level. The Eiffel Tower website explains these in detail and labels them “Explore,” “Amazement,” and “Vertigo.” if you have issues with heights, choose the second-level ticket. The views are astounding, even if you are not at the top.

Do take a note of its colour: Currently, the Eiffel Tower is three shades of brown; the lighter tones are higher up, which enhances the tower’s silhouette in the Paris sky. Every seven years, 60 tons of paint are required to repaint the Iron Lady. So far, the tower has been painted 18 times. When presented to Paris to commemorate the French Revolution, the tower was painted red. It was once yellow, and now it is a specialty colour developed in 1968 called “Eiffel Tower Brown.”

Do not forget to visit the tower again at Night: At night, the Eiffel Tower sparkles with lights for 5 minutes on the hour, every hour. This is a sight you must see when you are in Paris. The light show is entrancing. You can take a boat on the Seine to enjoy it more.

Check the weather before you go: Check the weather the day before you plan to go. If the forecast is for a foggy or rainy day, reschedule your trip (unless you already have online tickets). Wait to go when you have the best chance for good views. Fog will often clear by midday.

Enjoy a picnic lunch with a view: The Champ de Mars is a large public lawn that spreads out just beneath the Eiffel Tower. Take a picnic lunch and relax with this superb Paris view in your line of sight.

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