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Early lights-out for the Eiffel Tower

 

With energy shortages looming this winter because of fuel disruptions resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Paris is embarking on a period of sobriété enérgetique to cut down on unnecessary use.

While the full plan is still being worked on, one symbolic measure at the top of the list is shorter hours for the Eiffel Tower's sparkling illumination. The 20,000 flashing lights on the tower and the searchlight beacon at the top have been staying on until 1 am; the sparklers will now be doused at 11 pm, and the beacon at 11:45.

It's intended as a visible gesture rather than a real saver, since the full illumination is less than 4% of the Tower's energy use. France's mandate to local authorities is to reduce energy consumption by 10% to avoid rationing.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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UPDATE

The Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles will join the early lights-out scheme this week, with the Louvre Pyramid going dark at 11 pm rather than 1 am, and the façade lighting at Versailles switching off at 10 pm.

Announcing the changes, Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak acknowledged that the changes would not have a big effect on energy use, limited both by conservation measures and war-based fuel shortages, but said that "Symbols are very important to raise public awareness."

She pointed out other savings that have been achieved, including the Musee d'Orsay's savings a third of its energy use by switching to LED bulbs. She also said there are discussions with movie theatres to switch to laser projectors, which could cut energy use by 85%.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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