A Piece of the Eiffel Tower's Original Staircase Is Going Up for Auction

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (left) stands on the Eiffel Tower staircase in this 1889 photo.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (left) stands on the Eiffel Tower staircase in this 1889 photo.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Snapping a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night is a must for tourists visiting Paris (even if it is technically illegal), but if you want a little something extra to remember the historic landmark by, why not take a piece of it home with you? As CNN reports, a section of la Tour Eiffel’s original staircase is being sold today by French auction house Artcurial.

The artifact will likely set you back some $40,0000 to $60,000 according to early estimates, but then again, many would consider it a priceless piece of history. The 25-step spiral staircase stands at about 13 feet tall and was part of the stairway that connected the second and third levels of the tower, which was built by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Paris Exposition. The stairway remained in place until 1983, when it was replaced by elevators.

Considering that the Eiffel Tower stands 1063 feet tall (including the antenna on top) and has a total of 1710 steps (visitors can only climb the roughly 700 steps leading to the first and second platforms), the spiral staircase is a relatively small part of the overall structure. Nonetheless, its architectural and historical significance have made it a valuable artifact. The original staircase was divided into 24 sections, some of which were sent off to different institutions.

A couple sections of the staircase are on view at two Paris museums—the Musée d'Orsay and the Science and Industry Museum—while another piece can be found near the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

Other pieces were auctioned off to private collectors. In 2013, a section of staircase measuring more than 11 feet tall was snapped up for $249,000, and in 2016 another piece sold for $593,000—which makes the estimates on the current piece seem like a steal. 

[h/t CNN]

New LEGO Sets Let You Recreate the Iconic Skylines of San Francisco and Paris

In 2016, LEGO began releasing architecture-themed sets that let toy-loving designers recreate the world’s most famous skylines in their own homes, beginning with re-creations of New York, Venice, and Berlin. And now, the company is adding Paris and San Francisco to the mix, according to Archinect.

The new LEGO Architecture kit for Paris will feature the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe (both already available as stand-alone skyscraper kits) as well as the Louvre, the Tour Montparnasse, and other famous buildings. The LEGO San Francisco kit features the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, 555 California (formerly the Bank of America Center), Alcatraz Island, and the new Salesforce Tower, which recently became the city’s tallest building.

LEGO sets of the Paris and San Francisco skylines
LEGO

No doubt residents of both cities will have some gripes about which buildings were included and which were nixed from the kits. The Tour Montparnasse, in particular, was so deeply loathed upon its completion in the 1970s that the city of Paris promptly imposed a strict height restriction on buildings taller than 11 stories. Meanwhile, many San Francisco residents are still adjusting to the sight of the Salesforce Tower, which opened in 2018—it has been called “an atrocious spectacle,” its height described as “really offensive.”

You can check out all the kits from LEGO’s Architecture line here. Keep an eye out for the San Francisco and Paris versions starting early next year.

[h/t Architect]

The Tuscan Castle You've Always Dreamed of Owning Can Be Yours for $18.3 Million

Sammezzano Castle
Sammezzano Castle
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

If you’ve ever dreamed of living like Tuscan nobility, now is the time. Sammezzano Castle, a centuries-old palatial home located just outside Florence, Italy, is for sale, and it could be yours for just $18.3 million, according to Curbed.

The three-floor (plus basement!) castle was first built in the early 1600s, but the current building was renovated in the mid-19th century by Italian politician and architect Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona, who added the eclectic Moorish-inspired elements found throughout.

A cavernous ceiling in a castle
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

Colorful tile ceilings in Sammezzano Castle
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

At more than 58,000 square feet, the castle has 365 different rooms, each with a name and a decorative theme, including the Peacock Room and the White Room. It has previously served as a luxury hotel, spa, and golf club, though it’s been largely closed to the public since the 1990s. (It opens for a few limited guided tours per year.)

A hallway in Sammezzano Castle
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

A room in Sammezzano Castle with arched ceilings and intricate tile work
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

The building is surrounded by a sprawling park and preserve that’s home to the largest group of giant sequoias in Italy.

Sounds like quite the Instagram wonderland. Interested? See the full listing at Coldwell Banker.

[h/t Curbed]

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