The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris welcomed 1,350 children ahead of a concert and a elaborate laser show into the early hours to celebrate 130 years as the French capital's tallest building.
The Eiffel Tower, which communicates via Twitter to visitors, announced on Wednesday that "a busy period is expected."
The tallest building in Paris took over two years to build and was opened as part of the 1889 World Fair to mark the centenary of the start of the French Revolution. The 300-meter (984-foot) high, wrought-iron structure opened to the public for the first time on May 15, 1889. At the time it was the world's tallest building.
The celebrations for its 130th year began on Wednesday with visits by 1,350 children to the first and second floors of the tower, known as the "Iron Lady" (la Dame de Fer), to take part in postcard workshops. They then went downstairs for "snack time" in the gardens below.
Later, 500 environmentally friendly projectors featured strobe lights and lasers for a 12-minute show, to be repeated over the next three nights. The show represented the history of the tower, from its beginnings up to the present.
Earlier, French singer songwriter Jeanne Added — who sings mainly in English — took to the stage for a concert. She won the award for best female artist at the major French music awards Victoires de la Musique earlier this year, with her album Radiate named best rock album.
The tower attracts up to 7 million visitors per year and anniversary wishes arrived online, including from CN Tower in Toronto.
As well as celebrations, the tower has been used to express solidarity after national and international events. Most recently, it went dark to pay tribute to the victims of the bombings in Sri Lanka in April.
jm/msh (AFP, AP)