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Paris Goes Car Free For A Day

posted on Oct 05 2015 by Kiri Nowak

Paris Goes Car Free For A Day

Pollution is a big problem in Paris. For a short period in March, it was the world’s most polluted city. Pollution levels were so bad that a thick smog almost covered the Eiffel Tower. In an attempt to reduce pollution and do something about this, the city attempted to go car free for a day.

Despite their best efforts though, they could only get 30% of the city to be made off limits to cars due to objections from police and officials. However, this change still manage to make a huge difference.  The Guardian reports that according to Airparif, the levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40% in some parts of the city. This experiment took place on Sunday the 27th of September, and many people feel it was a big success. For one day only, in parts of the city, cyclists and pedestrians were given priority.

It seems almost impossible to image other cities, especially London also going car free every now and then. There would be huge objections in London and the city would probably turn to absolute chaos. Public transport would find it very difficult to cope with people flooding the tubes, trains and buses.

Yet somehow they have managed it in Paris, or at least in part of the city, which is a pretty impressive achievement. Driving around London is absolutely crazy on the best of days, so would some people welcome a change like this?

After the success of the car ban in parts of the city, officials says they might schedule more car free days. Anne Hidalgo, the city’s mayor openly declared on Twitter that ‘We might envisage days without cars more often … perhaps even once a month.’ It was reported that there was almost one-third less nitrogen dioxide pollution on the Champs Elyées than on an average Sunday.

If shutting off just under half of the city to cars can make such a big difference. Imagine how much impact shutting more of the city on a regular basis could have. However, is it a practical and achievable solution to the pollution problems in Paris? It seems like some sort of action is absolutely necessary, as a thick smog fills the city, the roads are constantly jammed and cyclists cover their faces to escape the fumes. Airparif claims ‘French people are still exposed to levels of pollution that do not respect the rules, particularly in the case of (lead) particles and nitrogen dioxide. Those living in the Paris region and near major roads are the most affected.’

Hidalgo has rather ambitious plans to improve the city’s pollution levels. Some officials want to prohibit older diesels, spend millions on the public transport system and ban vehicles in some parts of the city such as the right bank of the Seine from Bastille to the Eiffel Tower. However, these plans have been met with widespread objection. Despite it being easy to get around the city on public transport, people still want to use their cars. There needs to be a change in attitude before some of these plans can happen.

What do you think? Could parts of London be closed to cars, or would this cause too much chaos? Should other cities follow suit? Perhaps instead of shutting the city down to cars, they could invest in electric and hybrid vehicles. Here at, we offer a wide range of electric and hybrid cars for eco conscious drivers. Click here to view our selection of eco warrior cars.