It’s Illegal To Take Photographs Of The Eiffel Tower At Night

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Picture this, you’re in Paris wandering by the Eiffel Tower at night, noticing how gorgeous the iconic landmark is when lit up – you snap a picture when all of a sudden the feds roll in – arresting you on the spot. 

Fact or fiction?

Well, fiction obviously, unless I’ve got some terrifying prophetic insight into the lives of our readers I never knew about or indeed wanted.

However, it turns out taking photos of the Eiffel Tower at night genuinely is illegal – flights of fancy aside.

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Yes, you read correctly, according to Snopes, despite there being hundreds of exactly the same photo being shared on Instagram, Facebook, Bebo, Myspace or whatever, distributing photos of the tower is in violation of copyright.

The company which owns and operates the tower, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, even list on their website, to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower when illuminated, you need permission.

PA Images

They do however, say you can take photos of the top for free – rather magnanimous of them wouldn’t you agree?

The lights were added in 1985 and are still technically owned by the artist, which is why you can’t reproduce the image, although you can take pictures of the tower at night when the lights are off.

Actual picture of the Eiffel Tower at night....

Or alternatively, you could just wait until the day when the Eiffel Tower is in the public domain, which means you can snap as many pictures as you want without fear of the French fuzz arresting you for the crime of breaching intellectual property rights.

Despite the law, no one has ever been prosecuted for posting pictures on social media, although who knows maybe you could be the first?…


Tom Percival

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.