6 Surprising Facts About the Eiffel Tower

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, the Eiffel Tower has a history almost as long and varied as the history of its home city, Paris. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World Fair, the Eiffel Tower has survived 2 wars, a con artist trying to sell it for scrap metal, and uncountable lighting strikes. Read on for some little-known facts about the Eiffel Tower you may not have heard before.

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1. It’s Illegal to Take Pictures of the Eiffel Tower at Night

The Eiffel Tower has 20,000 lightbulbs that are embedded into its frame: 5,000 on each side. Every day from dusk until 1am, they light up and sparkle for 5 minutes every hour. The structure of the tower itself is public domain. However, the light show that happens for 5 minutes every hour is considered artwork, and as a result is the property of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the company that operates the lights. In order to reproduce or share photos of the illuminated tower at night, you must first seek permission, and pay copyrights to SETE.