About-France.com Breaking NEWS..... France to adopt metric time
About-France.com - the France information and travel portal .   A website about France and life in France
Paris, the Pont Neuf over the Seine
Map of France
►► Site guide
About-France.com home page
Accueil en français
Full site index
About-France.com site search
►► Popular pages :
The regions of France
Maps of France
France facts and figures
Climate and weather
Doctors and emergencies
The Tour de France
►► Main travel pages
Preparing a trip
Holiday week planner
Driving in France - road travel
Beware of "cheap ferry" offers
French rail travel
Ferries & flights to France
Visiting Paris
►►Leisure and tourism
Tourist attractions in France
The towns & cities of France
Wild France - France's "great outdoors"
Guide to French wines
Food & eating in France
Hiking - long distance footpaths
Opening and closing
►►Tourist accommodation
Guide to French hotels
Staying in Paris
Self-catering gites in France
Chambres d'hôtes (B&B) in France
Camping in France
►►Life & living in France
Living in France
Moving to France
Finding a job & working in France
Shopping in France
Studying & learning French in France
Schools & education in France
The French press - daily newspapers
Metric time - France takes the lead


Paris April 1st.  2010 - AFC

      France will officially become the first country in the world in modern time to adopt metric time, according to documents leaked late last night to a French television station, and confirmed by a high-ranking official in Paris. The change to metric time will complete the process of metrication launched over two centuries ago following the French Revolution.  Subject to official confirmation, M-Day is scheduled for April 2011, leaving French businesses, transport operators and the general public just a year to prepare for the event.

      Critics have reacted swiftly to news of the plan, claiming that the switchover to metric time will cause panic and confusion on a par with the Millennium bug, and should not be introduced in a hurry; but in Paris a senior member of the official National Time Metrication Coordinating and Organising Committee, speaking under cover of anonymity, confirmed that the change to metric time has now been approved at the highest level.
       Under the plans first put forward in 1791 by Jean-Baptiste Touta-Leurre, the Corsican watchmaker who rose to prominence in Parisian scientific circles in revolutionary France, days in France will be subdivided as from next year into ten metric hours, and each hour divided into one hundred metric minutes. However plans to name these units Meurs and Centimeurs have been shelved in spite of the possibility of confusion following the changeover,  as surveys carried out by Paris-based Ipsos suggest that changing the names of the units as well as the units themselves would lead to greater confusion.
      A memorandum on preparing for the changeover will be circulated in the coming month to all local authorities and the directors of all public institutions in France. It requires clockfaces on all public buildings, and  timepieces in all public services to be prepared for the changeover by February 1st next year at the latest. Clock faces on historic monuments are however exempt from the changeover, and will continue to show 24-hour time as part of France's national heritage.
      Commenting on the changeover, which for over a year has been the subject of secret negotiations between leading French industry chiefs and the directors of major public services, a senior executive of the French rail service SNCF said: "We are quite confident that we will be fully prepared for this historic change in which France will lead the world.  This is a very positive step forward, and as far as the railways are concerned, people will feel that the trains are faster, even if this is not the case. For example, from April 1st next year, the TGV (high speed train) service between Paris and Lyons will take under an hour, compared to two hours with the present system."
     But speaking on a late-night French TV show,  a spokesman for Air France, who had no prior knowledge of the project, expressed considerable alarm. "I do not think that this is a very sensible plan. Ooh la la. But imagine the confusion we will have in the skies over France. Unless everyone adopts this new metric time,  we will have planes leaving from Frankfurt at 8 o'clock in the morning, and reaching Paris at 4 o'clock in the morning the same day. It will be crazy!  No no no, I cannot believe that France will do this alone. "
      Contacted by phone by a journalist for the main French television channel,  European Commission Weights and Measures Directorate spokesman Hengst Driyfødder suggested that Brussels may block moves by France to take a unilateral decision of this nature. " I don't think that France will be able to take such an important decision without EU approval, " he observed. "It might be better to postpone the changeover for a year or two, so that all countries in the European Union can move over to metric time together. For instance, on April 1st 2014."

And if you're still incredulous about this, please note the date at the top of the article.  But the idea is not as strange as it might seem, and France did actually use metric time, or decimal time, for two years in the Revolutionary period, from 1793 to 1795; the day was divided in to ten hours, and each hour into 100 minutes. The system was scrapped  in 1795 when France introduced the Republican calendar, which was used until 1806. This calendar divided the year into twelve months (years started with the Autumnal equinox), and each month was divided into three decades. The months had names derived from the farming calendar or from the weather, and included Vendémiaire, Brumaire, Floreal and  Thermidor.
     

To contact About-France.com, send an email to info "at"  about-france.com

Copyright notice: Website and text © About-France.com 2003-2014   except where otherwise indicated.
 Holiday   ideas...
from
About-France.com

Paris
on a limited budget
Paris in the Spring
Gites &
holiday cottages in France
Scenic railways in France
Auvergne - France's hidden secret
***