Posted by: Jerry Garrett | October 2, 2010

Midnight Magic at the Eiffel Tower

Midnight at the Eiffel Tower. (By iPhone 3Gs, Jerry Garrett Photo)

It’s midnight. In Paris. I’m laying in the middle of some street, almost directly under Eiffel Tower, looking up one of her legs. (Ooh la la!) I’m not alone. Some other hooligans are doing the same thing. Hoping not to get run over. Laughing. Exulting in the view – the tower a golden glow from all the lights trained on its brown girders. Then a second set of lights, separate from the first, starts to twinkle. It’s magic. I almost feel like making snow angel moves in joy. But the pavement is dirty and gritty, and there’s no snow. Tonight, it’s a balmy 14 or so. What a view. I’m wishing I brought something better than the camera on on my iPhone 3Gs. But, hey, it’s all I have. How does its pictures turn out? Not bad.

Twinkle lights @ midnight!

Why am I out here, at midnight? A colleague chided me, when I told him that I had spent the entire day either trudging around the Paris Motor Show or holed up in my hotel room writing about it. “You just have to get out more…” And so I did, even though it was nearly midnight.

I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower at midnight before. The first time was in, I think, about 1984. Just when my date and I arrived for a romantic moment at the stroke of midnight, all the tower’s lights were turned off for the night. (There’s a very cool article here on the history of illuminating the Eiffel Tower.)

That wasn’t the end of our disappointment; the Metro or RER train stopped running at midnight, and we had to walk all the way back to our hotel in the Latin Quarter.

A man in a black Mercedes stopped and scolded us for being out walking in such an area at that hour; he gave us a lift – at very high speeds, through deserted streets.

I have been back many times; in 2000, the tower had a special set of lights and fireworks commemorating the millennium celebration. I think that gave Parisians some ideas about how to stage light shows at the tower. For the World Cup in 2001, the tower was lit up like a Christmas tree, in various guises.

The Eiffel Tower in blue, in 2008. (By Canon G9, Jerry Garrett Photo)

In 2005, I brought my daughter Shannon for her 13th birthday, and we got our pictures taken with it.

Two years ago, the tower was lit up in blue, with the stars of the European Union adorning its front. A beacon shined from its tip, like a lighthouse in the night.  I took about a hundred photos of it that night. I think that was the prettiest I’ve seen it.

Until tonight.

Jerry Garrett

October 1, 2010



  1. I thought the video of the Eiffel tower with special lights and Fireworks was fantastic. I loved it!!

  2. It is illegal to use a picture of the Eiffel tower commercially.

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