Everything you need to know about the Eiffel Tower at night
Thursday 9 April 2020
Modified the 11/01/21
When the sun sets and darkness falls over Paris, the City of Lights awakens. And so does the Eiffel Tower! It switches on its lights. It shines, it sparkles, and it can be seen from dozens of miles away. The Iron Lady puts on her most beautiful golden gown and sparks the entire world’s imagination. We've assembled your most frequently asked questions and answered them here. You’ll know all there is to know about Eiffel Tower after dark!
The Tower’s lights and sparkles
The Iron Lady first donned her golden raiment on 31 December 1985, and it was an instant success. The 336 yellow-orange spotlights it encompasses are integrated into the structure itself and serve two purposes: they highlight the Eiffel Tower’s elegant structure and ensure its safe night-time operation.
Previously, the Eiffel Tower was illuminated by many more external projectors. It has always been lit up after dark, by gas lighting before electricity took over.
When are the lights and sparkles turned on?
The projectors are triggered automatically by nightfall sensors. The sparkling lights are superimposed over the golden lights for 5 minutes at the beginning of each hour until 1 am.
A note to you night owls: the last sparkling lights at 1 am have a special little feature, the golden lights go out and the Tower is left only to sparkles for 10 minutes!
How much energy do all these lights consume?
In 2004, the Tower took control of its ecological footprint by reducing the electrical consumption of its spotlights by 40% while preserving the beauty of its illuminations. Three years later, the lighting was renewed to the same specifications.
Is it illegal to photograph the Tower at night?
Photographing the Eiffel Tower at night is not illegal at all. Any individual can take photos and share them on social networks.
But the situation is different for professionals. The Eiffel Tower’s lighting and sparkling lights are protected by copyright, so professional use of images of the Eiffel Tower at night require prior authorization and may be subject to a fee. Professionals should therefore contact the Eiffel Tower's management company to learn about conditions for using the images depending on the case.
The Most Beautiful Views of the Tower at Night
The Eiffel Tower’s beacon
Why is there a beacon at the top of the Eiffel Tower?
As far back as 1889, Gustave Eiffel installed spotlights to illuminate the monuments of Paris. In 1947, the beacon became useful for air navigation by offering a wider geographical coverage and better visibility than the one on Mount Valérien, which was at a lower altitude. Today, it is mostly a symbolic and universal landmark.
What’s the range of the Tower's beacon?
The beacon was inaugurated to ring in the year 2000. The 2 beams are composed of 4 motorized spotlights and have a range of 50 miles, which is more than twice the length of the Paris ring road!
Experience the Eiffel Tower at night
Can you visit the Tower at night?
The Tower is open every evening until 11:45 pm (that is Tower closing time, the ticket offices close over an hour and a half earlier), and until 12:45 am from mid-June to the end of August. You have plenty of time to admire the City of Lights all year round!
What to do at the Eiffel Tower in the evening?
Visiting the Eiffel Tower in the evening and at night is a completely different experience to day tours – and just as much of a must-see experience! In particular, climbing the stairs while the structure is lit up from the inside offers a unique ambiance that you don’t want to miss. And the most thrilling is a meet up at the summit over a flute of champagne at the end of the day (weather permitting, of course) for a romantic and unforgettable sunset. The view over Paris at dusk, as the lights come on around the city, will remain engraved in your memories forever.
Several dining options await you, from take-away counters for a quick bite to seated dinners on the 1st and 2nd floors, while reservation are required for the restaurant on the 1st floor. Dinners in the 2nd floor gourmet restaurant, the Jules Verne, must be booked well in advance and do not include a ticket to visit the Eiffel Tower.
What’s the best way to experience the sparkling lights when you're inside the Tower?
Inaugurated on 31 December 1999 to welcome the year 2000, the sparkling lights are superimposed over the golden lighting and consist of 20,000 bulbs that make the Tower sparkle for 5 minutes on the hour. We therefore recommend that you keep an eye on your watch and find your way to the 2nd floor, lower level, as the hour strikes for the best view of the sparkling lights covering the entire structure as it rises above you.