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From the City of Light to the City of Darkness? Help!

Help! The City of Light is about to become the City of Darkness…unless we can quell another one of this new government’s stupid ideas!

Believe it or not, the French minister for energy and environment (Minister Delphine Batho) has proposed that lights in and outside shops, offices, and public buildings to be turned off between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. beginning in July 2013. The plan would apply to all French cities, towns and villages with the idea to save energy and money while also showing “sobriety.”

26-12-12delphine bathoDelphine Batho – minister for energy and environment26-12-12le-lido26-12-12LouisVuitton Champs ElyseesLouis Vuitton – Champs-Elysées

Madame Batho is pretty, but is she nuts?

Imagine walking down the Champs-Elysées one beautiful evening and suddenly at 1 a.m., all the shops and businesses along the beautiful avenue go DARK. The Lido — lights out! Louis Vuitton — lights out! And what are you left with? Street lamps if you’re lucky and perhaps plenty of new-found thieves?

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who thinks she’s lost her marbles. Merchants are freaking out, to say the least — isn’t France the world’s number one tourist destination, largely for this reason? If the government wants to STOP MAKING MONEY to pay off the deficit, this is a perfect way to do it. I’m still having a hard time understanding how the Socialists don’t understand the golden rule of making money: you have to move money from one person’s pocket to another to make money in the process.

Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy mooted this insane idea and now it’s being given a strong push by our newly elected Socialist President François Hollande. Seems like every measure he is taking to trim the belts of the French is more a measure of starvation than a plan of fitness. They need to eat right, exercise, and build muscle while trimming the fat — but Mr. President, this is not the way to do it. Are you seriously that moronic? Everyone knows that if you diet without exercise, you just lower your metabolism and everything slows down turning you into jelly. Is that what you want for France?

I have always felt very safe walking home late at night with such an abundance of lighting, not just from the street lamps, but because cafés are still open, store windows are lit displaying their wares and people are on the streets. What will happen to all that when these commercial entities are forced to shut down and flip the switch to total darkness? Who will want to come to Paris when they can have a real life 24/7 in other major European cities such as London, Berlin, Rome? Paris will become a retirement community for old folks with no life for our youth. Help!

According to an article published by Bloomberg.com tourism accounts for 6.5% of the GDP and employs almost a million people. Paris attracted 8.5 million foreign visitors “who stayed for at least one night in a hotel and spent an average of 146 euros ($191) a day” and while other cities may attract more (such as London and New York), France remains the most visited country with 81.4 million foreign tourists in 2011. (Download the official statistics)

Luckily, the Eiffel Tower will still be glowing — at least up until 1 a.m., which it’s already doing, but Paris Mayor Betrand Delanoë has pledged to cut the city’s public lighting consumption by 30% by 2020 from its 2004 levels. I can understand their motives to reduce consumption, but while the city will consume less electricity, so will the residents and tourists consume less and spend less. This is where they don’t ‘connect the dots.’

Politicians have all these ‘brilliant’ ideas without thinking about human nature and how people will respond to the changes. Just as an aside, the expression “brilliant idea” came about because the idea LIGHTS SOMETHING UP, not PUTS IT IN THE DARK.

Those in the lighting industry say that only 10% of France’s consumption happens at night and therefore, this new ‘idea’ of austerity won’t make much of a difference to save energy while causing a long list of other problems. It reminds me of the new 75% income tax on earners of over 1 million euros of which there are only 30,000 in France, thereby accounting for a proverbial ‘drop in the bucket.’ So, why institute the big bad tax that is now driving out the rich and famous, such as Gérard Depardieu, who is giving up his French citizenship in lieu of Belgium’s lower tax policies. He said it’s not just the taxation that upsets him, but that this government believes “success, creation, talent — difference, in fact — must be punished.”

Sure, these new taxes and austerity measures are moving money — moving it right out of France and into the other European nations. Help! What is to become of the City of Light while Hollande is at the helm?

May you all have had a BRIGHT and MERRY NEW YEAR!

A la prochaine…

adrian blue eiffel

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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26-12-12AmericanLibraryPSP.S. Everyone who reads Parler Paris knows that we support all those who come to Paris to write or who write about Paris. And now the American Library of Paris is giving you an opportunity to express yourself by submitting your favorite book or books in a competition for the “the best book of the year about France and the French-American encounter” (published between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013) — whose author will receive $5,000 for the honor. To learn more about it, visit The American Library of Paris and to submit your own suggestions, email: [email protected]

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