Paris is famous for its bright lights, but French President Francois Hollande and his energy minister plan to extinguish the city’s trademark glow during overnight hours, in an effort to save money and energy -- putting many business owners and tourists in a dark mood.Sobriety? In Paris? That makes as much sense as linking sobriety and New Orleans.
According to a recent Bloomberg.com report, by summer of 2013, tourists looking to stroll down the renowned Champs Elysees will need a flashlight between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.
French energy and environment minister Delphine Batho said the proposal to turn out the lights in and outside public buildings, offices and shops will apply to all French cities, villages, and towns. The purpose is to save energy and money, and show “sobriety,” Batho said.
The move is part of efforts to boost France's energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. The plan’s first phase took effect last July, forcing stores and businesses to turn off neon lights highlighting their names, between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Critics say a dark Paris will encourage residents to stay home and tourists to go to bed earlier, hurting businesses...
Shop owners also argue that bright lights welcome visitors and instill a sense of security on the city streets. Many of the country’s 650,000 merchants oppose the idea, suggesting the government is threatening their livelihoods.
Unemployment is at a 14-year high in France and the economy has not grown much in the past year.Sound familiar? This is what happens when feel-good regulation is substituted for sound economic policies.
There are supporters of the plan, including the country’s Green party and several environmental activist groups.Perhaps Paris should relocate to California. Sounds like a match made in Heaven.
For the last word on this latest French foolishness, let's bring in the late, great Dandy Don Meridith.