Lights Shows​

Light show hours

Since its inauguration in 1985, the Eiffel Tower lighting system dresses the Iron Lady every night with a golden shimmer, thanks to 350 high-pressure partner light bulbs that illuminate the sky at 8 pm approximately (the hour depends on the time of the year and the lighting conditions). During the first 5 minutes of each hour, the entire tower begins to flash while a twin lighthouse illuminates the city skyline from the top. The show ends at 1 am, with a ten minutes’ final display.

How Long Does The Eiffel Tower Light Show Last?

The Eiffel Tower’s lighting system is activated by twilight sensors that detect when it’s getting dark, which is usually around 8 pm according to the season and climate conditions. What’s set and doesn’t change often is the time when the lights go out: at 1 am. During the summer the show lasts one more hour, between mid-June and early September, the lights are turned off by 2 am.

The system consists of 20,000 yellow and orange sodium light bulbs, that highlight the tower structure of the tower and its activated by sensors that detect when the sun is going down.

The light show takes place from 8 pm to 1 am, it goes up during the first five minutes of every hour, the night closes with the lengthiest display of lights which lasts 10 minutes. During summer, the light show runs until 2 am.

To appreciate the show in all its magnificence, cross the Seine river to the Trocadero Gardens. From the upper esplanade of the Palais de Chaillot, you get an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower light display. You can also get a proper sight from the Panoramic Observation Deck of the Montparnasse Tower.

The Eiffel Tower’s Fireworks and Lightshow

Since its construction in the 19th century, it has always been an aspiration to illuminate the tower in the most spectacular possible way. Fortunately, technology has evolved, from the first fireworks of its inauguration to the modern electric light with high-pressure sodium lamps, passing through neon gas tubes or incandescent bulbs that give it its distinctive shimmer.

It was in 1888, a year before the project was finished, that the tradition of launching fireworks from the second floor of the tower began to commemorate July 14, the French National Day. This tradition remains until today, being the epicenter of this celebration and other national and local festivities. 

Another great occasion to enjoy the light show of the Eiffel Tower is New Year’s Eve. Although the surroundings of the tower are not usually a meeting place between Parisians to receive the year, a special lighting set is prepared for when the clock hits midnight.

It was precisely to celebrate the arrival of the new millennium on December 31, 1999, that two new light games were added to the tower: the sparkles and the lighthouse. The lighthouse of the Eiffel Tower is composed of two beams of light that reach a maximum range of 80 kilometers.

One curious thing you should know is that you can only take photographs of the Eiffel Tower with any purpose (even commercial ones) during the day. Why? The typical silhouette of the tower cutting over the Parisian skyline or specific images of the structure are not subject to the payment of rights of any kind since the author of the tower, Gustave Eiffel, died in 1923 and his design is part of the public domain. In this case, the so-called panorama freedom applies.

However, the design and layout of the spectacular lighting, especially the flashes and the lighthouse of the tower, are more recent and copyrighted, the company that manages the greatest tourist attraction in Paris legally holds rights to its use before third parties, that includes video or photos. We bet you didn’t know that, did you?

Special Illumination

The lights of the tower may vary according to local events: the colors might change to celebrate a special occasion or might go off as a sign of mourning, as it happened after the attacks in Paris in 2014. The best way to enjoy any light show the Eiffel Tower has to offer is crossing the Siena River up to Trocadero gardens, looking for a spot on the Chaillot Palace, or going straight to the Montparnasse tower. Like any other day, the lights go on 5 minutes every hour.

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