mathew mitchell

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Paris Notes

Posts about random and various aspects of life in Paris.

Eiffel for Five

At the 2000 New Year's Eve celebration a new addition was made to the Paris landscape: a twinkling Eiffel Tower. That night the Tower was illuminated by 20,000 to 40,000 (depending on the source) flashing lights strung all around it. The effect was a sparkling Tour Eiffel. It was quite beautiful.

If I remember correctly, for the full year of 2000 this lighting was shown every hour for 10 minutes once it was dark. Then this celebration stopped. However, people in Paris plus visitors liked this hourly light show so much that the Paris government finally brought back the 10 minute lighting show (around 2003). Since then people have been enchanted by a dazzling display of lights on the Tour Eiffel at the start of every hour for 10 minutes once dark had descended on the city. This meant you got to potentially see lots of light shows in winter, and would only see a light show in summer if you stayed up past 11 or midnight.

One of the ways you know the global recession has hit Paris is that the Tour Eiffel light show still continues but for 5 minutes, not 10. So if you want to see this hourly phenomenon you better make sure your clock is accurate! It's easy to miss if you aren't at a suitable viewing location right at the top of the hour. To be fair, this seems like a reasonable compromise. It saves the city 50% of the cost of running those 40,000 lights while still maintaining this very nice new tradition.

If you want to find out more than you'd ever like to know about the Tour Eiffel you can download a free document about it here:
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