Lonely Planet Writer

Paris is going completely car-free one day every month

If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy the sights of Paris without the noise, smell and obstruction of traffic, you now have the opportunity once a month. From this month, the entirety of the city is going car-free on the first Sunday of every month.

The old Marais neighbourhood. Photo by Page Light Studios/Shutterstock

The first day kicks off this Sunday, 7 October and will run from 10am to 6pm. During that time, cars won’t be allowed in the city centre and instead the streets will be free for pedestrians and people on bikes, rollerblades and scooters.

The first car-free day took place in September 2015 with huge acclaim. As well as having more space and a cleaner environment to enjoy the city, the noise levels dropped by three decibels in comparison to a regular Sunday.

People gather at the Champs-Elysees Avenue on a car-free day. Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The monthly car-free day has already been implemented in some parts of the city but now the first, second, third and fourth arrondissements are joining the initiative. Mayor Hidalgo praised the move saying “this measure, eagerly awaited by the inhabitants, is the fruit of an important partnership between the prefecture of police, mayors of the district and neighbourhood associations.”

There are some exceptions to the car-free rule. Local residents, deliveries, public transport, taxis, carers, repair personnel and those attending a religious service will be allowed to bring their car in through designated access points but will have to adhere to a maximum speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour.

Cyclists ride past Notre Dame Cathedral during a “car free” day in Paris. Photo by Eric Feferberg via Getty

The mayor is also responsible for a host of new environmental measures, in particular boosting public transport with an eye to potentially introducing free public transport throughout Paris. Already it has seen some success with air pollution and inner city traffic levels both on the decline.