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Shop 53 rue Saint André des Arts, Paris 6th - Email: Hello@charlie-paris.com - Tel: 0967411237

Store 53 rue Saint André des Arts, Paris 6th - Email: Hello@charlie-paris.com - Tel: 0967411237

Time change: how to explain it?

Since 1998, the time change dates have been harmonized within the European Union. In all member countries, the change to winter time takes place on the last Sunday in October and the change to summer time on the last Sunday in March. But have you ever wondered how to explain the time change?

  1. How to explain the time change?

  2. Benjamin Franklin at the origin of the time change?

  3. The time change: From occupation to today

  4. Oil shock and energy savings

  5. Do all countries change time?


1. How to explain the change of time?

Every year in March and October, when the time change arrives, the same questions come up, “But suddenly, do we sleep an hour more or an hour less? I never know! ”. Yes yes, you see what we want to talk about.
But have you ever asked yourself the question: Why?
If today thechange from winter time to daylight saving time happens almost automatically for all of us, you might be surprised to learn that this stems from historical, geopolitical and economic decisions.

2. Benjamin Franklin at the origin of the time change?

The idea of ​​applyinga time change is very old and we owe it to this dearBenjamin franklin in 1784, when he was United States Ambassador. Awakened very early by a noise in the street, he notices that daylight is already filtering behind the curtains, and then understands that it is several hours of daylight that are lost by the Parisians, still asleep. His proposal then consists in adapting the hours of rest to the rhythm of the sun: get up earlier to be able to take advantage of the morning light, and go to bed early to save candles. Smart, right?
But rather than forcing men to change their pace and habits, the idea arises fromchange the time displayed by clocks.Summer time was born, but the change from Winter to Summer time will take over a century to truly break through.
Indeed, it is in1916 that daylight saving time is applied for the first time, in Germany-Austria-Hungary in order to save coal for the war effort by limiting domestic consumption. In the spring of 1916, France, the United Kingdom and the United States also made a time change. But daylight saving time will be abandoned once peace is restored.

3. The time change: From occupation to today

In June 1940, Nazi Germany occupied France, at that time in London time (GMT). However, Germany is at GMT + 2, and there is no question that the Occupiers will adapt to it.'summer time French (GMT + 1)! All the occupied territories therefore pass “German time ", or at GMT + 2.
This is where it gets complicated ! France is split in two on either side of the demarcation line: in the North, the French then live at GMT + 2 while the South has retained GMT + 1. Can't stand waiting for a late train? So imagine the headache imposed on the SCNF, whose trains cross the demarcation line daily, trying to adapt to different time zones ...
It was therefore at the instigation of the SNCF, tired of permanent delays, that the Vichy government decreed in February 1941 a time change in the free zone, which resulted in the passage of all of France to German time, GMT + 2, which will remain so until 1945.
At the Liberation, the government decides to go back to GMT + 1 at first, thinking of returning to GMT thereafter.
Wondering why Greenwich is the reference meridian or what the acronym GMT stands for? Team Charlie enlightens you through another of their blog posts.

4. Oil shock and energy savings

In 1973, the contextoil shock pushes the French government and its President, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, to use the Ctime to reduce household energy consumption: this is the birth of the slogan "We don't have oil, but we have ideas!".
After the rationing of the service stations and the 11 p.m. stoppage of television programmes, the Chirac government reintroduced the time change in 1976, with the aim of better matching the schedules of activities with the sunshine, thus limiting lighting expenses.
Because activities are much more important at the end of the day, taking advantage of an extra hour of daylight in the late afternoon or evening allows the government to make significant savings, according to proponents of this measure.
So you'll understand, the time change is a tool that has long been used, more or less rightly, to regulate energy consumption, reduce the need for artificial lighting and optimize the amount of time it can be used during the day.

5. Do all countries change their time?

The answer is no!
While all the countries of the European Union and the United States change hours twice a year, more than a hundred do not apply it, especially in Asia and Africa. Russia also abandoned the time change in 2011, considering that this change was damaging to the biological rhythm of its inhabitants.

Little recap!

In 2020, we will move todaylight saving timethe last Sunday in March, the night of March 28-29. At 2 a.m. I'll have to adjust myShows Charlie Paris 3 hours. The sun goes down an hour later, but we sleep an hour less.
The change from daylight saving time toWinter timeOctober 24-25. At 3:00, it'll be 2:00. We get an hour's sleep but the sun goes down an hour earlier!

french watch