Every hour following sunset, Parisians and tourists alike stop and stare at the glorious spectacle that is the sparkling Eiffel Tower! Seriously, no matter how many times you’ve visited or how long you’ve lived in Paris, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle remains magical. Here are all the details you need to make sure you get to the chance to see the magic happen as often as possible:
When does it sparkle?
The first five minutes of every hour following sun set until 1 A.M. For example, if sunset is at 5:24 PM (winter months) the first sparkle will be at 6 PM. In the summer when the sun sets after 7 PM, the first sparkle would occur from 8:00-8:05 PM. This is because the Eiffel Tower is covered in light sensors that detect when the sun goes down, and switches on the tower’s iconic gold lighting within 10 minutes of sunset.
Why does is sparkle?
The nighttime gold lighting and oscillating Eiffel Tower spotlight were installed to light the way for visitors and allow nighttime operation within the actual tower structure. The hourly sparkle has run every evening since the year 2000, and the engineer Pierre Bideau, who designed this spectacle, says he was inspired to create the illusion of flashing camera lights. I’d say he nailed it, how about you??
What happens at 1 AM?
Every hourly sparkle is magical, but the final sparkle at 1 AM remains unique. At 1 AM, the golden light that illuminates the Eiffel Tower throughout the evening hours shuts off and you are left with 5 minutes of remarkable “camera flashes” that disappear into the night sky, as all Eiffel Tower lights turn off at 1:05 AM. Equally magical and eerie, make plans to stay up for this spectacle at least once during your stay!
Read about the best places to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle here.