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Lease of light for Eiffel Tower

A huge crowd witnessed the dazzling unveiling.
A huge crowd witnessed the dazzling unveiling.

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PARIS, France (CNN) -- Paris's Eiffel Tower is shimmering more dramatically than ever after the city's mayor flicked the switch igniting 20,000 new lights on the famous tourist site.

Thousands had turned out to watch the glittering unveiling Saturday, which capped off the 22nd annual "Fete de la Musique" a nationwide music festival.

The sparkling display comes after two years of repairs and will take place every night until the early morning hours.

The lightshow is a more spectacular recreation of the effect designed to see in the Millennium which proved so popular in the City of Light that it was not switched off until July 2001 after the lights, originally made for a short-term use, began to fail.

A new set of bulbs was turned on after 11:00 p.m. (2100 GMT) by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. It had taken five months to install the lighting system, which uses 40 km (24 miles) of cable.

Shaped like a pyramid, the bulbs spread all over the structure, flashing on and off rapidly to compliment the tower's older lighting.

They will engulf the monument for the first ten minutes of every hour from dusk until one or two in the morning.


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