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Energy law sees City of Light set for dark nights
The City of Light, no more? Businesses stay lit all night in La Défense, the financial district of Paris. A new nationwide law requires lights to be switched off at night. Photo: Yogi/Wikimedia

Energy law sees City of Light set for dark nights

Published: 01 Jul 2013 16:30 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2013 16:30 GMT+02:00

Paris, or the City of Light as it is known, will never again look the same at night after a new nationwide law comes into effect on Monday which forces shops and other buildings to switch off their lights every evening, in a bid to save energy.

Streets and buildings all over France are set to darken from Monday, as a new law banning night time lighting comes into effect.

Paris, famous for its well-lit streets and monuments, as well as the neon cityscape over La Défense, the capital’s financial district, will likely undergo a particularly drastic nocturnal facelift.

The law, passed in January, calls for “the illumination of the fronts of buildings to be stopped by 1am, at the latest,” according to French TV TF1.

For shops, commercial centres, and museums, “the lighting of windows must be switched off by 1 am, or one hour after [everyone has left], whichever happens last.”

Lights can be switched back on at 7am every morning or one hour before work starts, whichever happens first.

Anyone caught leaving their lights on all night risks a fine of €750, though the new law does not apply to residential properties.

Though the sudden change in ambience might be jarring, it’s all part of the French government’s wider initiative to reduce waste and save money.

According to a statement from the ministry of sustainable development, the lights-off plan will save €200 million per year, “the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 750,000 households.”

Anyone planning a trip to the City of Light, however, should rest assured that they will not miss out on any iconic, romantic night-time views of the Eiffel Tower.

The law contains a special dispensation for tourist areas, and for the occasion of special festivals, as well as keeping on any lighting designed for security reasons.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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