When Gustave Eiffel finished the tower in 1889, he decided to congratulate himself by building a secret apartment on the third level, almost 1,000 feet above Champ du Mars. He used it as a place for quiet reflection. In contrast to the skeletal iron of the structure, the flat was, in Eiffel’s time, filled with wooden furniture and a grand piano. The apartment also held a small laboratory area, which the designer outfitted with the time’s most high-tech scientific equipment.
The apartment was a decadent place from which to view the city, when Parisian high society learned of the private hideaway, they began begging him for the chance to rent it out, even for a day. He declined them all, preferring to keep it as a personal space for quiet reflection both in the heart of the city and yet miles from it. He would however have the odd guest up, including Thomas Edison who once visited and gave Eiffel a phonograph machine as a gift. Even today the tradition continues, with the apartment only very rarely opening for public view, but much of the original furnishings remain inside, along with mannequins of Eiffel and Edison.