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Paris Is for Early Birds Under New Lighting Plan

French luxury brand Louis Vuitton stand display is pictured on November 28, 2012, in Paris at the Printemps department store
French luxury brand Louis Vuitton stand display is pictured on November 28, 2012, in Paris at the Printemps department storePhotograph by Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

The City of Light is getting darker. After banning overnight illumination of museums, churches, and even the Eiffel Tower, the French government now wants Parisian shops and public buildings to turn off their lights from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. The proposal by Environment and Energy Minister Delphine Batho could take effect by next July.

Batho says the move is intended to save energy, cut costs, and show “sobriety.” Paris merchants, though, worry it will dim the city’s attractiveness to visitors. Compared with other European capitals such as London and Berlin, “We’re becoming a museum, falling asleep after sunset,” says Claude Boulle, head of the City Centre Merchants association.