Parisians and tourists basked in the sunshine on Sunday as they strolled, skated and cycled around the city centre on the French capital's first car-free day, part of efforts by local authorities to tackle the city’s alarming pollution levels.
The French capital's central arrondissements and areas around landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées were mostly free from car noise and exhaust fumes between 11am and 6pm local time.
Exceptions were allowed for taxis, buses and emergency vehicles. Paris has occasionally closed selected roads to traffic in the past, but not as large an area as was covered on Sunday.
Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who late this year will host the United Nations World Climate Conference, said the goal was to show that "Paris can operate without cars".
But not all Parisians were impressed on Sunday, with many cyclists and pedestrians complaining that there were still too many cars around, while motorists fumed in the large traffic jams that formed around the pedestrian area.
This family is sticking to the cycle lane, which is probably a good idea with small children – and when taking a picture on the move. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
Joaquim Ameller, 26, and his friend have opted for the popular velib’ bicycle sharing service to enjoy the car-free day, but they’re somewhat surprised to see several cars on Bastille square. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
Alexander Noé, 19, volunteered to man a checkpoint near Bastille. He’s having a hard day keeping cars at bay. “The tourists are fine, they’re enjoying this,” he says. “But Parisians are terrible. They all have an excuse to break through the barriers". © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
Car-loving Parisians are not impressed, sitting for hours in the many queues that form around the pedestrian areas of central Paris. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
Here’s one little car that is more than welcome in central Paris. Sara Capron and Chloé Faller-Rodre, both 19, are enjoying the ride in this gorgeous pedal car near Notre-Dame cathedral. They say the day without cars is a "wonderful idea". © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
They're not the only ones to have wheeled out their finest vintage vehicles. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
This stretch of road along the River Seine's right bank is normally chock-a-block with cars. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pushing to make it pedestrian, but she is facing fierce opposition from many Parisians. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE 24
Date created : 2015-09-27