The Eiffel Tower at night. Paris, France. 2009

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.

The locals get ready for the show

 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.

It is an amazing tour de force in steel

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.

A huge metal quadraped

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.

I could have looked at it for hours

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.

[youtube En-cHBv7UpA]

5 thoughts on “The Eiffel Tower at night. Paris, France. 2009”

  1. I like the first shot a lot. It gives a different perspective on a spot that has been photographed millions of time. That’s a big accomplishment.

    BTW, did you know the nighttime lighting on the Eiffel Tower is copyrighted? It’s an odd piece of trivia I learned in my alternate life as a stock photographer. You can sell a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Daylight, but a shot of the Tower at night is protected by some sort of copyright.

  2. I agree with Dave, I like that first shot with the people in the foreground. These are all beautiful, though — what a magnificent structure, especially since a major purpose of it is to be a beautiful symbol. Kind of like the Statue of Liberty. Hmmmm… that was French, too, wasn’t it? Maybe there is something to be learned here.

  3. great shots, the first one being my favourite, though I’m a sucker for symmetry thus the last one gets me too. And to ad some trivia – the tower coated in 60 tons of paint, which is repainted every seven years, the whole job taking a year to be completed. If one is to believe Czech airlines inflight magazine.

    I always like to see locals enyojing their sights, it would be such a waste if magnificent places become the property of people who come there once in their lifetime for a few hours. One of my fondest memories of sights is a local man in Cappadocia who we met at sunset enjoying the spectacular views of the fairytale lanscape. Although he visited the spot almost daily, he seemed just as amazed as we were.

  4. First of to everyone, sorry for taking so long to answer your comments but I haven’t had good internet access over the last couple of days. I’ve been doing a few posts at a time and scheduling them to publish at later dates.


    That’s odd about the copyright thing. I wonder how they would respond if I claimed the right to photograph a nightscape of Paris without their lights on and would they please turn them of. Personally I think it’s ridiculous and I’d like to see how far they’d get in a US or Australian law court.


    You’re right about something to be learned from the French. Like being a friend without having to agree with everything that one does and says.




    You’re right about the locals enjoying their landmarks.

    Everytime I’m down at Circular Quay (near the Sydney opera house and Harbour bridge) in Sydney I often look around at all the tourists and think to myself, “they came so far to see all this and I live here!”. Such thoughts help me enjoy what I think many people take for granted.

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