Europe Energy Crisis: Paris’ Most Famous Landmarks Will Go Dark Earlier Than Usual This Winter

Fayçal Benhassain | September 14, 2022 | 6:48pm EDT
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The Eiffel Tower will go dark earlier than usual each night, as part of a City of Paris drive to save energy this winter. . (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
The Eiffel Tower will go dark earlier than usual each night, as part of a City of Paris drive to save energy this winter. . (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)

Paris ( – The potential energy crisis forecast by experts for the coming winter, is pushing Paris and other cities here to consider steps to save power, and the French capital’s most famous landmark will be among those affected.

Unveiling her energy “sobriety” plan for the coming months in a bid to reduce the city’s electricity and gas consumption by 10 percent, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she has asked the managers of major monuments to join the campaign.

They include the Eiffel Tower, one of the most visited sites in the world, which is owned by the City of Paris but managed by a development company, the Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE); and the Louvre museum, a public establishment supervised by the ministry of culture.

The Eiffel Tower has been illuminated throughout its 133-year existence, powered first by gas and later by electricity. Every night the lighting comes on automatically and flickers every hour for five minutes until 1 AM, when it goes dark.

Hidalgo’s modest proposal is that the lights be turned off instead at 11:45 P.M., after the departure time of the last visitors.

The Eiffel Tower management has pointed out that its night-time lighting represents only four percent of its annual energy consumption, and that the proposed measures will not make a big saving.

Still, SETE president Jean-François Martins told media outlets this week that the move was “a gesture that contributes to the role of this monument in the energy saving [campaign].”

Like other countries in Europe, France is concerned about the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Western sanctions against Moscow, and Russia’s retaliatory steps, will have on energy supply over winter.

Hidalgo’s proposals include turning off lights and lowering the heating temperature at municipal buildings. Starting next week, the town halls in central Paris and in 20 districts will turn off lights at 10 PM, as will the city’s famous Saint-Jacques tower.

Municipal swimming pools will be asked to lower their water temperature from 27 to 26 degrees Celsius.

She also wants temperatures in public buildings to be lowered, from the current 19 to 18 degrees Celsius in the daytime, and for nighttime temperatures to be kept at 12 degrees or below. The start of seasonal heating of these buildings has also been delayed until November, rather than the beginning of September as has traditionally been the case.

Hidalgo is calling on city residents to also lower temperatures in their homes by the same amount, except in nursing homes, nurseries, and other places where vulnerable or ill people live.

Similar measures are being considered in other large and medium-sized cities and towns.

Street lighting in Paris will not be switched off at night, for security reasons, although the intensity of the lighting will be reduced.

Hidalgo sought to reassure residents and visitors to the city that the proposals, especially relating to street lighting, will not have a negative impact on security at night.

However, the proposal is getting pushback from some quarters. Mélanie Goyeau, head of a feminist association in central France, told the France 3 television channel that turning off street lights “will be an additional problem regarding insecurity for women.”

Although the new steps being proposed are related to the current situation in Europe, the City of Paris says it has been working for years on measures to save energy.

“Since 2007 Paris has invested a lot of money for a strong ecological transition,” Emmanuel Grégoire, Hidalgo’s deputy in charge of urban planning and architecture, tweeted this week.

“The thermal renovation of more than 58,000 social housing units allows a family to save $400 per year on their energy bill,” he added.

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