Introducing the Eiffel Tower Illuminations

Heather Clouse
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What Are The Eiffel Tower Illuminations?

The Eiffel Tower illuminations are a must-see during your visit to Paris at night. They began as a lighting competition between the cities of Paris and Brussels. This competition was won by Paris.

The tower is lit up in various colors at certain times of year. At a distance, you can see a trail of colored lights which appears to be emanating from the tower in a straight line. This is actually the work of several thousand bulbs.

The illuminations depend on several things. They are not permanent so you have to time your visit well. And they are also not available for viewing every evening. They are only on during the summer and the period of time varies each year.

In January 2017, the Eiffel Tower illuminations were on for six nights starting on January 16th and ending on January 22nd. The illuminations started at sundown and ended at 1am.

How It’s Lit

The lighting on the Eiffel Tower is an amazing and distinctive attraction.

The lighting has been modified and updated over the years, with over 3,300 lamps used on the tower.

The clock is the “Sculpture “Eiffel” by Maurice Denis and was only featured on the tower for a short time.

The Eiffel Tower’s amazing lighting design is based on colors of the French flag. It was meant to welcome and honor the soldiers who returned home after the war and to celebrate peace.

The tower is illuminated by floodlights and searchlights. The colors are changed by an automatic lighting system.

The lights are turned on at sunset every night automatically. To create the effect, the lamps are not turned on each one individually, but the entire Eiffel Tower is turned into a single light bulb. This is possible because the lights are placed in series, so if one of them is on, they all are. The advantage of this system is that it makes the lighting very energy-efficient.

Beacon and Sparkler Bulbs Introduction

The Sparkler light mechanism was installed in the tower in 1979 by French company Company Electriques de France and removed in 1986. In 1989, French company M.Pégase was contracted to install a new lighting system, the sparklers, which consumes a quarter of the energy of the original quartz-tubes lamps.

The sparklers are made of 3,018 red sparkling lamps, which illuminate the tower from base to summit during 20-minute shows every hour between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. During special holidays, the displays can be up to 40 minutes long.

The shows are created by using film projections, lights, and fireworks. The films and lights are changed every 6 months. The goal is to use the projected images to provide greater depth and perspective to the sparklers.

If you have ever wondered how to turn on the lights, there is no need to worry. This mechanism is controlled automatically.

There is an automatic control that turns on the lights at dusk and turns them off at dawn when in February, March, April, November, and December. In March and November, the operation is extended until 11:00 p.m.

An Installation As Impressive As The Spectacle Itself

The Eiffel Tower is back again with its long awaited show of lights. Paris Light Festival is one of the most stunning light shows in the world.

The Festival is installed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the most famous landmark of France. It is an illumination show full of lights, creativity, and flair. Visitors are invited to watch the Eiffel Tower transform into a giant canvas.

How does it work? What makes it so unique?

The Festival consists of three different themes. Versailles, New Paris, and City of Light. Each theme is accompanied by its own Eiffel Tower-inspired colors. There are a number of scenes consisting mostly of animated images, including moving clouds, rainbows, birds, and even hearts.

The transitions are smooth and seamless. The colors provide a nice contrast to the surrounding white Eiffel tower. The images on the projections are not the same static images we’re used to in most displays.

Viewers are encouraged to watch the show at different times each night. The three different themes each last for 10 minutes each.

Modernization

In the late 1980s, the aging electronic substrate that provided the Eiffel Tower’s major illumination was due for replacement.

Once the new lighting system went into place, temporary lights illuminated the tower for technical tests. This early look inspired Parisian residents to officially request its continuous use when the tower was illuminated semi-annually for special occasions.

Prompted to find a permanent solution that would provide a more dramatic view of the city, in 1987 the Eiffel Tower's chief engineer and architect, Maurice Koechlin, proposed specially designed lighting elements to outline the tower and recreate the effect of its original spark plugs.

A larger version showcasing all three arches was constructed for the tower's 125th anniversary in 1989, and rose up almost 25-high (7 m) next to the tower itself.

This test was successful, and the lighting proposal was approved. An international competition was launched for a project that would provide a permanent lighting of the entire tower.

The competition was won by Estonian architects Annika and Eiki Helmers who produced the final design and oversaw the construction of the illumination system.