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Cyclists rule for a day as Paris bans cars

A woman rides a cardboard car on Place de la Bastille during a "car free" day in Paris.
A woman rides a cardboard car on Place de la Bastille during a "car free" day in Paris. ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP

Pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers are out in full force this Sunday as the French capital once again bans cars for a day.

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From 11 am to 6 pm, only emergency vehicles are allowed on the streets, along with public transport. Buses are running as usual, with their speed limited to 30km/h, and taxis are permitted, too.

Chauffeur services such as Uber and Lyft are off limits in the central 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Elsewhere they must respect maximum speeds of 20 km/h.

Electric cars are also banned – and anyone caught flouting the rules faces a stiff fine of 135 euros. Only Paris’s ring road, the Peripherique, will remain accessible to motorised vehicles.

Coming on the back of high pollution rates following more than 30 consecutive days without rain, 22 September marks the fifth time authorities have closed Paris off to cars. Ironically, rain is forecast for the afternoon.  

Pestestrians take advantage of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées without traffic.
Pestestrians take advantage of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées without traffic. AFP/LIONEL BONAVENTURE

To make for a fun atmosphere, activities are being offered to visitors and locals alike. The Faubourg Saint-Denis neighbourhood in the 10th arrondissement is one of many areas hosting streets animations.

Visitors to the capital arriving by car can take advantage of parking discounts being offered by a list of car parks at the gates of Paris. The OPnGO parking application offers 21,000 parking spaces at a flat rate of 10 euros for the day.

Of course, there are some exception to the car-free day. If you live in Paris, you’ll be able to access your home if you can provide proof of your address. Plus moving vehicles with a valid town hall permit will also be allowed on the streets.

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