The City of Light is about to get a little bit darker. In a bid to conserve energy, Parisian officials will turn off the lights of the iconic Eiffel Tower more than an hour earlier than usual starting this week.
Lights typically illuminate the popular tourist attraction until 1 a.m. However, from September 23 forward, the tower will go dark starting at 11:45 p.m., Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced on Twitter last week. The new lights-out plan aligns with the tower’s closing time: Visitors can enter until 10:45 p.m. but must be out by 11:45 p.m.
“It’s a symbolic, but an important step,” Hidalgo told journalists last week, per Nicolas Garriga and Barbara Surk of the Associated Press (AP).
Hidalgo announced the new Eiffel Tower schedule as part of the French capital’s broader efforts to conserve energy. Elsewhere across the city, other monuments and municipal buildings will also go dark earlier than usual to help reduce energy consumption by about 10 percent, a goal outlined by France’s president Emmanuel Macron earlier this summer.
The lights will now go out at Saint-Jacques Tower and City Hall at 10 p.m. To keep people safe, officials will keep streetlights on throughout the city and will continue to illuminate bridges over the Seine River. Hidalgo said she also plans to encourage the government to reduce lighting at national monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Pantheon.
Paris officials also plan to lower the temperature inside public buildings from 66 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (19 to 18 Celsius) during normal business hours, and to 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) on nights and weekends. They will also turn on the heat in public buildings in mid-November, rather than mid-October.
Built starting in 1887 to be an attraction for the Paris Exposition of 1889, the Eiffel Tower has welcomed travelers to France for more than 130 years. At 1,083 feet tall, the latticed iron structure can be seen from spots all over Paris. Visitors can explore the tower’s first and second floors, as well as the summit, which includes enclosed and open-air areas. On average, more than 6 million individuals visit the beloved landmark each year, according to the Eiffel Tower’s website.
Paris, like other parts of Europe, is feeling the squeeze of a widespread energy crisis due largely to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is sending less natural gas to European countries supporting Ukraine, which has caused prices of electricity and gas to skyrocket.
The demand for energy is expected to increase this winter, and officials are taking proactive steps to reduce the risks of blackouts and power shortages. This summer, for example, Spain required shops, restaurants, bars, offices and other public spaces to set the air conditioning at or above 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius); the new rules will also apply this winter, during which buildings must keep the thermostat at or below 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius).
The energy crisis has also been hard on European manufacturers, who have had to furlough workers and slash the production of items ranging from steel to fertilizer to toilet paper.
“It’s the most dramatic situation we have ever encountered,” says Nicholas Hodler, who heads the Arc International glass factory in Arques, France, to the New York Times’ Liz Alderman. “For energy-intensive businesses like ours, it’s crippling.”