I think it would be safe to say that many non-French (myself in particular) might assume that the Eiffel Tower is something that only tourists would be interested in. In fact lots of locals turn up at late in early evening to hang out with their friends or family, to eat, drink and party on the nearby park lawns as the sun goes down.
As we walked along a small crowd of youths with a boom box was belting out “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson until the crowd booed them into submission.
I’ve had never thought much of the Eiffel Tower until my recent visit a few days ago. I’d always thought that the tower was just another tacky tourist attraction. In fact, I still feel that way about the tower in the day time but the night changes everything.
At 9pm a series of strobe lights flash all over the tower for 5 minutes. A cheer goes up as the light show starts up and there is clapping when it ends. It’s pretty obvious that the French a proud of the tower and I’d say they have a right to be. The Eiffel Tower was the herald of the new age of modernity and it amazes me that it was ever built. It’s even more amazing that it’s still around.
As the night wore on, people milled around under the tower, either queuing up to go up the tower of to buy fast food. The mood was mellow and I enjoyed being around so many happy people who’d travelled so far to be there. So many people just wandered around, looking up without watching where they were going, and they all had big grins on their faces.
Right under the center of the tower is a metal plate that marks the very center of the tower and people place their cameras on the disc and use self timers to take photos straight up.
Here’s a video of the music played in the park to provide background music as you look at the images above to give a better feel of the ambience of the night.