After the tower has been lighted up until 1 a.m., the glittering lights are overlaid over the golden illumination and bring the monument to life for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. The effect is breathtaking.
In addition to being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is also used as a radio station antenna. Radio listeners can hear broadcasts from around the world that are transmitted by the tower's three large antennas.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the World's Fair in 1889-1891. It was designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel and is located at the entrance of Pari's Montmartre district, near the Moulin Rouge cabaret. The tower is so named because it was made out of iron and steel (instead of stone like most other buildings at the time).
In addition to its permanent exhibition area, the Eiffel Tower offers several different shows throughout the year. The best known is the nightly light show which is visible worldwide through pictures taken by visitors from all over the world.
The tower also hosts four major exhibitions each year: Christmas, Easter, Summer, and Winter. These exhibitions feature works of art that reflect the theme of each show.
The tower is open throughout the day and until late at night, so you may observe and shoot everything you want. If you enjoy photographing glittering city lights, this is an excellent location to put up your tripod and snap a long exposure of the lights below. The tower is also ideal for shooting stars with its clear sky viewing platforms.
You can reach the Eiffel Tower by metro or train from downtown Paris. There are also buses available that run between the Champ de Mars and the tower entrance. The journey takes about an hour and a half on foot, but it's easy to spend hours watching for photo opportunities as you walk through the streets of Paris.
Admission to the tower is free but reservations are required for some of the exhibitions and films. You can make reservations online or by phone in French or English. It's recommended to book your tickets well in advance if you want to go at peak times like Christmas, New Year's, or Easter.
The tower is open from mid-June through early August, daily from 9am to 11pm. The rest of the year, it closes at 4:30pm except on days when there is an exhibition being held within the tower, which lasts until 5:15pm.
Visitors under 16 years old are not allowed inside the tower.
The shimmering lights are low-energy devices. They use around 8,800 kWh per year, which is the same as the yearly energy consumption of a 30 m2 studio apartment with two residents. They account for 0.4% of the monument's yearly energy usage. The glistening lights use relatively little electricity. They can be switched off for about six months without affecting their quality or visibility from far away.
The tower itself consumes more than just its lights. It also uses energy for its maintenance, which includes heating and cooling it in case of cold weather or hot days like here in Paris. The tower has an average lifespan of 100 years, so even if it stopped being built today, it would still be shining bright after another 100 years.
In fact, everything on this planet consumes energy. You might not think about it, but your computer is working all the time using electricity, and that requires power. It doesn't matter how small your computer is, or what continent you live on - everyone's computers need to be turned on to use them. In total, worldwide computer usage accounts for about 2% of all energy production.
The main source of energy for the Eiffel Tower is oil, which comes from deep underground reservoirs. This means it is safe from hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters that could damage or destroy other sources of energy such as coal or nuclear power plants.