On November 22nd, a staircase is being sold at a Paris auction house. But not just any staircase…
The object under the hammer is something of a French historic treasure, seeing as it’s nothing less than an original piece of the city’s iconic Eiffel Tower. That’s right – the 2.6m-long section of staircase dates back to 1889, when La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady) was unveiled after two years of construction. It’s been stepped on by a gazillion people but hasn’t lost any of its charm or character. Just look at its spiraled form – elegant like a Parisienne!
Do we sound like auctioneers? Pardonnez-nous. We just think it’s pretty cool.
“It’s a really historic moment,” Sabrina Dolla of Artcurial Auction House told BBC News. “From the original staircases of 1889, the only one that remained was the 130m segment that linked the second and third stages.” In 1983, this particular segment was cut into 24 pieces. For safety and convenience reasons, all other staircases have been replaced by lifts over the years.
It wasn’t all oohs and aahs when the 324m (1,063 ft) tall Eiffel Tower arose at the end of the 19th century – many French artists and intellectuals didn’t think much of the structure’s design. But today, the tallest building in Paris is the most visited paid-for monument in the world, having attracted almost 7 million people in 2015 alone.
Just to repeat – this isn't any old staircase. It is expected to bring in some €40,000 (approx. $43,000). Modest? Extravagant? That’s not for us to say. What we do know is that this 127-year old piece of history is conveniently sized, should you want to put it in your living room…
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