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  1. #1

    Tripod on Eiffel Tower


    I have a question about shooting the Eiffel Tower.

    I have a dream - to make a panorama photo from the upper observation deck.
    To do this, use a telephoto lens at 300mm f2.8 and tripod.

    Interested in the legal side of the issue. Are there any restrictions on the use of a tripod? Can I get a permit? I asked these questions of the management company ( but I did not answer the letter.

    Plan to shoot in the afternoon. Not for commercial use. Not for advertising.
    I'm not a French citizen. I live in Russia.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Besançon, France

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Hello from France

    Clearly the web site you are referring to let us imagine that the Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel is entitled to charge a fee for what you'd like to do. However, zillions of visitors take pictures of Paris, freely, from one or another platform, without paying anything.

    So only the company who has rights to earn money from the Eiffel Tower can give you an answer.
    However we can add here some answers to related image right issues in Paris, for all our readers (those questions are frequently asked questions, image rights in France are a very complex issue).

    Regarding pictures of the EIffel Tower itself, e.g. taken from the Trocadéro palace and gardens, the situation is simple and clear, as stated officially:
    The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, falls within the public domain.
    Daytime views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free.
    However, its various illuminations are subject to author’s rights as well as brand rights. Usage of these images is subject to prior request from the "Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel" (the Eiffel Tower’s operating company, or SETE).
    The citation "Eiffel Tower", the names of the various services offered on the monument as well as domain names are also registered.

    Regarding the use of a tripod in Paris, the right is granted almost everywhere for free, in the public domain, provided that you do not obstuct street traffic or pedestrian traffic.
    The exception for a public monument are the Louvre gardens, where a fee is in principel required for tripod use or for any commercial or non-commercial shooting session with a tripod. Yes, I know, this is absurd, again, zillions of tourists freely shoot pictures inside the Louvre gardens every year, and a single honest LFer with a tripod will have to pay a (heavy) fee even for a non-commercial shooting session...

    Another issue concern image rights to buildings protected by architects rights. For example Villa Savoye in Paris, by le Corbusier, is protected and in order to take an image "officially" on a tripod you have to pay a heavy fee.
    The situation is complex because most of the time those image rights are not enforced. For example another very famous building by Le Corbusier, a chapel in Ronchamp (Eastern part of France) should be protected exactly like Villa Savoye, but many images of this chapel, taken by amateurs and professionals, to the best of my knowledge, circulate freely without any legal action taken against this situation.

  3. #3
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    I'm not familiar with French attitudes on this sort of thing but my usual approach is that it's better to apologize than ask permission.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by C. D. Keth View Post
    I'm not familiar with French attitudes on this sort of thing but my usual approach is that it's better to apologize than ask permission.
    That attitude has always served me well, but I also live in a society where the authorities frown on people shooting trespassers. I don't imagine you run much of a risk attempting this, your worst-case is a security guard will tell you to stop and direct you to inquire at the office.

  5. #5

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Thanks for answers.

    Describe the situation in detail.

    I understand that at the observation deck so many other visitors. Therefore, use of a tripod is difficult. But I am interested in legal issues. If I spend a considerable amount of money for me, and I will not even begin a scheduled recording - will be very unpleasant.

    Tripod, panoramic head, large lens - all of which can raise questions. I'm in French do not understand a word. Yes and spoken English is very poor.

    I want to create a so-called gigapixel panorama. My example of such work: This Yekaterinburg.

    It may be that guide the Eiffel Tower can be against such surveys.

    After some time, I'll write up letter to the management company, in French.

    Technical difficulties, such as the limited review, protective netting and others I know. Now only interested in legal issues.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Hamilton, Canada

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    If no tripod is allowed, then what I have done is use a wider angle than needed and pick out a structure in the lower corner of each shot to keep your level. Take more shots maybe every 20 degrees around and use the extra sky and foreground to crop to get your originally planned shot.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Whenever I went to Paris, the Eiffel Tower was full of tourists, and especially the upper platforms are not a good place to set up a tripod. It might be easier to take a beanbag and rest your lens on it. Stitching together a panorama might require more shots than from a tripod, but there will be less of a discussion, unless the beanbag drops on somebody below.

    French image rights are very complex, but there is also an international side to it, making it even more complex. Most EU-jurisdictions freely permit the publication of photographs of any permanent installation taken from public property , the legal concept is "Panoramafreiheit" in German, which includes their commercial use, French law, however doesn't. Depending on where the publication of the pictures take place, and the legal situation in Russia, you might win thus your case against SETE, provided your legal eagles have sharp claws and beaks.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Your panorama of Ekaterinburg is amazing.

    Legally, SETE, the operator of the Eiffel Tower, can restrict your activities there, like using a tripod. As I understand, you plan your trip from Russia to Paris to make this picture. So I think, that you should get an agreement from SETE that you will be able to set up your equipment and take the pictures. And I would also look at alternative places from which to take pictures, such as the Montparnasse tower (which would allow you to have the Eiffel Tower in your panorama). Maybe forum members more familiar with Paris can help with suitable places.

    Good luck and I hope it will not rain on that day.
    Last edited by cgrab; 7-Feb-2013 at 03:19. Reason: typo

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    If this were something I was determined to do, I would make a small (or maybe not so small) investment in some specialized equipment and a bit of planning. Really Right Stuff has a great selection of top-notch pano gear, including their Safari line, which seems to be a series of versatile rail clamps and things. Thinking Eiffel Tower observation deck guard rail clamps...

    This is the sort of planning and gear I'd like to have with me when doing an unauthorized pano shoot, from somewhere like, say, the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower. I'm sure I'd make every effort to be discreet and go unnoticed, but when it got down to it, concentration on the goal of getting the shot(s) would take priority. If it were crowded up there and I had to use my body to keep a few tourists clear of my rig, well? Small price to pay for a great image.

    And to paraphrase Chris Keth: Forgiveness can often be easier to get then permission. Even if someone got really mad that you had the gall to just DO something like that, it's highly unlikely you'd be thrown in jail. Sometimes photographers must have some sand and must take some risks to get what we want.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    The Netherlands

    Re: Tripod on Eiffel Tower

    Been following this thread for a while. This is what you've got to work with:
    I would just go for it. The only problem is that the more professional you look, the more difficult it gets. You might be taken for a professional photographer as in, making money from your pictures from the tower.
    I would keep other options open, like the Montparnasse tower, Baselique de Sacre-Coeur, Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Jardins du Trocadero.
    Personally, the view from the eiffel tower looks like any other city because the eiffel tower isn't on it.

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