The Eiffel tower : beacon to beacon
Monday 2 June 2008
Modified the 03/07/18
Free access to the exhibit for all visitors to the monument.
The Eiffel Tower is open everyday from 9:30am to 11:45pm and from 9am to 12:45am from June 13 to August 31.
Lighthouses are a universal symbol around the world and that includes the beacon atop the Eiffel Tower, which lights up the sky over Paris nightly.
At present, the Eiffel Tower is honoring other lighthouses in a photo exhibit of 80 pictures taken by photographer Jean Guichard, specialist in maritime history. This outdoor exhibit on the first floor of the monument opens the way for the public to discover these lighthouses that orient seafarers, right here in Paris while visiting the Tower.
Beacons in the spotlight on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower
Painted red, white and navy blue; made of stone or brick; standing high above a sheer drop, these lighthouses will take visitors to the French coast, from the Cape of Raz to the Bay of Quiberon or the Golf of Ajaccio. A mix of vista views and once-in-a-lifetime moments captured on film, such as the enormous spiral staircase leading up to an oil platform beacon or a glimpse inside a lighthouse station.
Located on the Eiffel Tower first-level platform looking out over the Champ-de-Mars, the exhibit displays spectacular images portraying the enduring nature of the pictured beacons, standing up to the violence of the sea.
Whether frozen over with ice, whipped by the sea or towering over oil slicks, these lighthouse photos are not to be missed. Extending its horizons beyond the French coast, this exhibition takes the visitor on a world tour offering magnificent images of lighthouses from Iceland, the UK, the USA…
The Tour Eiffel Lighthouse
As early as 1889, Gustave Eiffel was busy in the drawing room, making plans for the beacon to be set atop the tallest structure in the world, which would sweep the sky with beams of blue, white and red covering a distance of 100 kilometers! The finishing touch to the pièce de résistance of the Paris Universal Exhibition.
In 1947, interest in using the Eiffel Tower to help orient air navigation became obvious. From the Tower heights, visibility and geographic range were far more impressive than the lower altitude of Mount Valérien where a rather powerful beacon had already by installed. Two beacons were mounted on the Tower summit in order to give the impression of one single light source from a distance.
In 1970, the Civil Aviation Agency refused to carry out the needed fixing. Coupled with the fact that air traffic over the capital city had become forbidden, the beacon was replaced with the usual red lights placed on factory smokestacks.
Installed once again as a permanent fixture for the occasion of the new millennium in the year 2000, the two light beams sweep the Parisian sky reaching out 80 kilometers. Four motorized “marine” flood lights are piloted by a micro computer installed with specific automatic programming so as to control their movement. Each one rotates 90° in the form of a cross so as to create a double-beam of light pivoting 360°.
A book entitled "Lighthouses" was published by Reader's Digest and includes numerous photos presented in this exhibit, available in the Eiffel Tower shops.
Once an agency photographer working for the prestigious Sygma and Gamma, Jean Guichard has been a freelance photographer since 1995. Since the 80s, Mr Guichard has pursued his passion for maritime history through his lens and obtained the World Press Prize in 1989 for his famous shot of the Jument Lighthouse and its guardian. His work has been garnered other awards, notably the Concarneau Best Illustrated Book Award as well as the laureate of the Naval Academy in 1992 for his book "Lighthouses."
Informations : www.jean-guichard.com