Lonely Planet Writer

Cars banned one Sunday every month on the Champs-Élysées

One of the world’s most instantly recognisable boulevards – the Champs-Élysées – is to have a car-free Sunday once every month beginning on Sunday, May 8.

Champs Elysee is to be a car-free zone for one Sunday in every month from May
Champs Elysee is to be a car-free zone for one Sunday in every month from May Image by Emilio del Prado / CC BY-SA 2.0

Paris City Hall announced that the streets will be off-limits on those days with the first pedestrian-only day starting on Sunday week.

Noise levels have been measured at half the normal level when cars are banned and roads are pedestrianised along busy boulevards in Paris
Noise levels have been measured at half the normal level when cars are banned and roads are pedestrianised along busy boulevards in Paris Image by Navin Rajagopalan / CC BY-SA 2.0

Originally, the Local reports that it was intended to start the car ban this Sunday. However, that was deferred because of the public holiday weekend when municipal staff required to work the new scheme will be off work, according to Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s office.

However, the following Sunday cars will disappear along the two kilometre-long street. A total of nine new routes are also to be for pedestrian-only use. These are in addition to the 13 that already operate under traffic restrictions as part of the ‘Paris Respire’ anti-pollution plan.

The authorities made the announcement without revealing which areas would face the traffic changes.

The extension of car-free zones comes hot on the footsteps of last September’s first car-free day. This allowed cyclists and pedestrians to take over and was met with plenty of approval.

One aspect that was commented on was the noticeable difference in the level of sound without horns blaring and engines racing.

According to the association Bruitparis, noise levels took a three decibel drop compared to measurements for a normal Sunday in Paris. That translates as a fall of 50% in the usual din around the city.