Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, while its beacon shines over Paris.
The Golden Lighting Dates from 1985
Unveiled on the 31st December 1985, invented by Pierre Bideau, an electrician and lighting engineer, it consists of 336 projectors equipped with high-pressure, yellow-orange sodium lamps.
This form of illumination, which has been met with unanimous, worldwide success, was the starting point of a nocturnal revival of monuments, in Paris as well as in the cities of France and the world.
The beams of light, directed from the bottom towards the top, illuminate the Eiffel Tower from the inside of its structure. Since 1958, by replacing the 1,290 working projectors that illuminated the Tower from the outside, they have been highlighting the fine metallic structure of the monument and illuminating the areas used by late-night visitors until the closing of the Tower to the public. In addition to the aesthetic aspect, it is equally necessary for the security of the late-night operation of the Tower.
The projectors are turned on in under 10 minutes. This is activated upon nightfall by the sensors.
In 2004, they were replaced by projectors with an electrical power of 600 watts as opposed to the previous 1KW, i.e. an energy consumption saving of around 40%. Their improved output of light preserves all the beauty of the overall appearance.
In June 2007 the 336 light bulbs were replaced with duplicates.
The Beacon and Sparkes for the "Countdown to the Year 2000"
On 31 December 1999 at the approach of midnight, the entire world will discover the beacon and the Tower's sparking lights.
The beacon, sending out two light beams with a reach of 80 kilometres, is composed of 4 "marine" motorised projectors. They are operated by automatically piloted computer programs. Since their rotation sweep is 90°, they are synchronized to form a double beam in a cross that pivots around 360°.
The xenon 6000 watt lamps were chosen for their longevity, around 1,200 hours. The lamps are cooled to prevent overheating and a heating system is activated when the temperatures drop below zero Centigrade whilst the lights are off.
This beacon resonates the image of Gustave Eiffel's Tower itself as a universal and symbolic landmark.
The sparkling lights are superimposed over the golden lighting. Made up of 20,000 light bulbs (5,000 per side), they bring the monument to life for 5 minutes every hour on the hour once the Tower has been lit up until 1a.m.
To finalize the show, the gold lights were shut down and only the sparkling lights performed, five minutes of magic never seen before, breathtaking.
The glittering light installation of the year 2000 was not made to last and was replaced in June 2003 by another lighting installation meant to weather a period of 10 years.
The Beacon of the Eiffel TowerInstalling the lights is about as impressive as the lighting itself :
25 mountain climbers for the 5 month installation ;
20,000 special light bulbs (5,000 per side) attached one at a time ;
40 kilometers of strings of light and electrical cords ;
40,000 joints and 80,000 various metallic parts weighing 60 tons ;
230 enclosed lighting fixtures and electrical boxes ;
10,000 m² of safety nets ;
120 kilowatts of power ;
Budget total: 4.55 million euros HT