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Art and Images in Psychiatry
September 2009

Champs de Mars: The Red Tower

Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(9):930. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.131

There is virtually no Parisian glance it fails totouch at some time of day. . . . all this night, too, it will be there, connecting me above Paris to each of my friends that I know are seeing it: with it we all comprise a shifting figure of which it is the steady center: The Tower is friendly.–Roland Barthes, 19971(p3)

The Eiffel Tower, named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, is the tallest building in Paris, nearly twice the height of the Washington Monument in the US capital, completed in 1884, only 5 years before it. More than 200 million people have visited it since its opening on May 6, 1889. It was the entrance arch to the World's Fair (Exposition Universelle) that celebrated 100 years of progress since the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution.2Originally a 20-year permit was granted to Eiffel with the expectation that the city of Paris would tear the tower down in 1909 when ownership reverted to the city. But its value as a communication tower was recognized and it was allowed to stand.

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