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]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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China Is Now Home to What May Be the World’s Most Stunning Bookstore

The best place to get lost.
The best place to get lost.
Shao Feng/X+Living

Anywhere with books for sale is automatically a lovely place to be, but this new bookstore in southwest China just upped the ante with its jaw-dropping display of shelves.

The shop, located in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, was designed by Li Xiang and her architectural firm X+Living. As Li mentioned on Instagram, she drew inspiration from Dujiangyan’s ancient irrigation system, which uses the rivers running in and around the city. You can definitely see its influence on her work; the towering arches and winding staircases evoke images of flowing water, and the mirrored ceiling makes the room seem infinite. ArchDaily points out that the curved display tables on the black tiled floor even look like boats in deep, placid water. Taking in the entire scene elicits a similar sense of awe that you might feel when observing a natural landscape.


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A post shared by Li Xiang | X+LIVING (@xlivingart) on

Then, there are the books themselves. While shelves stretch up to the ceiling (and seemingly beyond, thanks to those mirrors), visitors don’t have to worry about certain volumes being much too far to reach. The highest “shelves” are actually just wallpaper printed to look like bookshelves. According to designboom, the store also houses a children’s reading area, complete with green bamboo bookshelves, pictures of pandas, and bright-colored cushions.

It’s not the first time X+Living has created a space for book lovers. The Dujiangyan shop is the latest in the firm’s Zhonghuge series of bookstores around China, including locations in Beijing, Ningbo, Guiyang, and Chongqing. There are certain recurring design elements—like mirrored ceilings, curved shelves, and archways—but each has its own distinct style.

While you’re waiting for a chance to explore one of Li Xiang’s magical buildings, find out which bookstore is your state’s best one here.

[h/t designboom]