Champs Elysées to be car-free once a month to fight Paris smog

Pedestrians on the Champs Elysées
Pedestrians on the Champs Elysées Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Paris's Champs-Elysées will be off-limits to cars on the first Sunday of every month starting in May. Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo has made fighting the smog that periodically shrouds the French capital one of her top priorities.


The city council announced the car ban on Monday, adding that the first pedestrian-only day will be 8 May instead of 1 May, a public holiday, when many of the council workers needed to run the scheme will be off work.

From then on, cars will be banished from the two kilometre-long street on the first Sunday of every month when museums in Paris are also free to the public.

Nine new streets will also be pedestrianised every Sunday and public holidays, adding to the 13 already subject to traffic restrictions under the Paris Respire anti-pollution programme

The World Health Organisation says fine-particle air pollution is responsible for about 42,000 premature deaths in France each year and the French Senate estimates that air pollution costs 100 billion euros every year.

To read our coverage of the Cop21 climate talks in Paris, click here

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