The artistic lighting of Paris after dark did not occur by chance.  In 1981, the city created a special department to focus on improving the view of its monuments at night.  At that time, buildings were lit by large spotlights, which did not enhance the architecture or add theatrical ambience. 

Today, the department includes a staff of thirty specialists who are responsible for the artistic illumination of hundreds of monuments, centuries-old government buildings, and numerous bridges over the Seine -- not to mention the Eiffel Tower.

There are a few theories about how Paris came to be known as the City of Light (or La Ville Lumière).  One is that the name was derived from the spectacular electrical light displays at Paris' World's Fair of 1889 (when the Eiffel Tower was completed).  Another theory traces its origin to the city's early adoption of street lighting in the nineteenth century (first  gas lamps and later electric lights), at a time when most other European cities were still "in the dark."  Whatever the reason,  Paris truly is the City of Light (and Romance), and day or night is one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

(P.S.  A great way to see these night lights is by taking a boat tour on the River Seine.)  Photo of Eiffel Tower by Frederic Reglain

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