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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Eiffel Tower glitters over Paris

By Caroline Wyatt
BBC correspondent, Paris

The Eiffel Tower is now shimmering in the night sky of Paris more dramatically than ever.

The French capital has given the tower new and spectacular lighting, switched on by the city's mayor at 2330 (2130 GMT).

Eiffel Tower
A landmark in lights
The cost is huge - 4.5 million euros (dollars) - but Paris believes the expense is worth it after the success of the special lighting switched on for the Millennium celebrations.

It has taken 25 climbers five months to put in place the most dramatic lighting yet.

Twenty-thousand bulbs on the Eiffel Tower twinkle out over the city, visible for miles around.

Until now, Paris's main landmark was illuminated quite simply, its outline glowing a gentle gold.

But on Saturday evening the people of the capital were invited to a night of festivities to celebrate its new glory.

By popular demand

At the switching-on ceremony after dusk, the golden light gave way to fairy lights, making the monument glitter like a diamond against the night sky.

The lights will be switched on every night until the early morning hours.

And this is not the first time the Eiffel Tower has enjoyed such a facelift.

On the night of its inauguration in 1889, it was lit by 10,000 gas lamps, switching to electricity a little over a decade later.

The lighting put up for the Millennium was much loved by Parisians but it was taken down due to the expense.

Now, thanks to popular demand, it is back, even more spectacular than before.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"The lights will be switched on every night until the early hours"

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