Towns and cities turn off lights to see stars

Silhouette of mountains against the backdrop of a starry sky, partially polluted by light from a town

Clear skies forecast for the ninth annual 'Day of the Night', which raises awareness of light pollution

The heavens may appear slightly clearer on Saturday night, as 300 towns and cities across France turn off at least some of their lights for the ninth annual 'Day of the Night', when events are held to raise awareness of light pollution.

Meanwhile, nearly 500 nocturnal activities have been organised nationwide by a total of 24 organisations, including star gazing and wildlife spotting. The good news is that the skies are expected to be clear

Cities including Paris, Rennes, Grenoble, Montpellier, and Metz are among those that have committed to taking part in the event.

Some 250 sites in Paris, including the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysée, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame and Place de la Concorde will be temporarily plunged into darkness.

In Rennes, lights in 30 sites - including the town hall, opera house, in the République, the Place du Parlement, Halle Martenot and Esplanade de Gaulle - will be turned off.

The city of Rennes has committed to cutting its energy consumption by 20%, including on street lighting by 2020. It has already switched off lights at night in certain industrial zones.

The organisers of the annual Day of the Night say that France alone is illuminated by some 9million lights every night, an increase of 30% in a decade. Some 85% of Europe is affected by light pollution, it claims.

For more information, and news of events near you, log on to the La Jour de la Nuit website.

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