Paris may be the “City of Lights,” but those lights will go out earlier than usual every night this fall and winter.
First, the city of Paris announced that the lights at the Eiffel Tower, arguably Paris’ most famous landmark, will be turned off a little over an hour earlier each night to conserve energy. This announcement was quickly followed by news that the lighting on certain exterior facades and city monuments – including the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall) and the facade of the Palace of Versailles – would also be switched off an hour earlier each evening.
Now the committee that governs the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris has announced it will soon follow suit, turning off exterior lights earlier than normal. The 2 km long Champs-Élysées, stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, is known for its numerous high-end shops, restaurants, cafes and theatres.
All of these measures are part of a plan to conserve electricity as Europe’s energy crisis continues as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine. Most of France’s energy usually comes from its own nuclear reactors. However, nearly half of those reactors are currently out of service, forcing France to source electricity from Germany – which is itself in the midst of a gas shortage due to reduced supplies from Russia.
In response to this situation, French President Emmanuel Macron has urged industry, households and local authorities to cut energy consumption by 10 percent to avoid the need to ration electricity across France this winter.
By switching off the lights along the Champs-Élysées earlier every evening, energy savings of around 44 percent are to be achieved. But above all, it should “not limit the cultural, tourist, commercial or economic impact of the Champs-Élysées, or the aesthetic and entertaining quality of avenue strolls during festive periods [including Christmas]’ said Marc Antoine Jamet, chairman of the committee, in a statement.
The plan for the Champs-Élysées
“The most beautiful avenue in the world should also be supportive and exemplary,” announced the board of the Champs-Élysées committee in a statement. “As there must be no exceptions or privileges in reducing energy consumption, the board of the Champs-Élysées Committee has decided to reduce the avenue’s lighting and signage times.”
Here’s how the new plan works, which should be followed before October 15:
All signs along the avenue should be switched off by 10 p.m. at the latest, instead of the current 1 a.m. For businesses such as restaurants and theaters that remain open after 10 p.m., however, there is “of course” an exception, explains the board. However, the Champs-Élysées Committee is asking these businesses to turn off their lights once guests leave.
It’s important to note that while the lights for businesses along the avenue dim, the public streetlights stay on all night for public safety reasons.
The Champs-Élysées are also famous for their colorful Christmas lights. While these lights will still be visible this year, the hours will be different.
In the past, from November 20th to January 9th, the Christmas lights along the Champs-Élysées were on until 2:15 am every morning. Instead, this year the lights will be on until 11:45 p.m. every night from November 20th to January 2nd.
Other energy saving measures
Paris officials also plan to save energy by heating public buildings in mid-November instead of the usual mid-October.
When heating is turned on in all city buildings, the thermostats will be set 1 degree lower than normal during the day – 19 to 18 degrees Celsius (66 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit) on weekdays. After hours and on weekends, when buildings are unoccupied, the temperature is set to 12 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit), the city of Paris explains.
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