Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Signs of the times

More and more rural towns are trying to save energy and reduce light pollution by turning off street lighting rather than leaving it on all through the night. This town, Goudet, in the Auvergne is one of them. The top sign says that public lighting will be turned off in winter between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, and in summer between 1:00 am and sunrise.

Central Goudet is down in its valley on the Loire River. The church tower has a colorful conical tile roof.

The second sign says that the town is a two-star town for their efforts to protect the nighttime sky and the nocturnal environment. Below that is the standard route number sign (the road we were on), then the name of the town (these are always placed at the town or city limits), and finally a speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour. If there were no speed sign, the town name sign means that speed is limited 50 kph. That's standard throughout France.

Speaking of street lighting, we have none in our hamlet, thankfully. But on the next road over, we can see their streetlights through the woods in the evening. They also go off around midnight, so they're not shining through the night.


  1. How interesting! I've never heard of a town doing this. It's great, if there are stars in the sky.

  2. Last week, my French class read an article on this "dark skies" initiative in France.

  3. That's a lot to read when you drive into town. But I love that they're doing that. And I miss seeing the nighttime sky!

  4. Well - I will be reporting about this in my french class tomorrow! What a clever idea - and to notify tourists or visitors when they enter so they will be prepared during those hours. Thanks Chrissou, I will now research more about the "dark skies" initiative!

    Mary in Oregon

  5. I agree with turning off the lights
    Then we can all sky watch

  6. I am so happy to see this movement spreading. I was in a town near the coast in Normandy last winter for a bit, and they, too, shut off street lighting overnight. Don't remember exactly which hours, but I think similar to those in the sign.

  7. judy, I see so many stars here, the nights can be quite beautiful. When it's not cloudy, that is!

    chris, cool!

    mitch, I know. I only read the top signs because we stopped. The other signs are recognizable without really looking, it becomes second nature.

    mary, light pollution is one of those things. We don't realize it happens until we see a real dark sky.

    john, I love watching the stars come out on summer evenings and spying the occasional satellite passing by.

    emm, urban living has made many of us afraid of the dark, I think. So yes, it's good!


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