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Rates updated on 10/19/19 at 00:15:46 GMT -5

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According to the European Union’s 2001 Copyright Directive: Article 5, photographs of architectural works in public spaces throughout the European Union can be taken free of charge. Thus, taking pictures of public buildings is allowed, and those photographs can be published or distributed without prior permission.

However this EU directive is optional and France opted out, so, it is, in fact, illegal to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night. Why you ask? Why is it illegal to take a picture, at night, of this gorgeous thing in the middle of Paris, the 4th most visited piece of real estate on the planet visited by almost 20,000 people per day?

The light show is considered art and protected by copyright law, and to take and disseminate images without permission from the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel would be copyright infringement. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, put this into full-screen. It’s quite lovely.