Paris Will Go Car-Free for One Day Next Month

© Aurelien Meunier / Getty Images

By Danica Lo Posted August 24, 2016

The city celebrates its second annual Car Free Day in early autumn.

One of the most difficult (and stressful) things to deal with in big cities is gridlock. We're talking about traffic—all that roadway-congesting, noisy, bumper-to-bumper frustration that can eke the joy and beauty out of any commute, road trip or city break. Local government officials in Paris seem just as fed up—and so this year, for the second year in a row, they've declared Sunday, September 25, the day of Journee Sans Voiture, a.k.a. "Car Free Day." Here's how it all went down last year:

According to the city's official website, "After the success of the Car Free Day last year, the City renews this year's event, expanding the scope to multiply by five the controlled sector in central Paris. Educating residents on the need to change their position vis-à-vis behavior of the car is one of the objectives of the day, which also aims to be a symbol to show that cities can and must invent concrete situations to fight against pollution air-related traffic."

The car free day started as an initiative of the NGO Paris Sans Voiture (Paris without cars), whose website explains, "The day is designed to educate drivers and encourage them to adopt sustainable behaviors, particularly in the area of mobility. This is an opportunity to reflect on sharing public space and accelerate behavior change positively imagining the city of tomorrow." The organization hopes to one day expand the project to the entirety of France.

Car Free Day in Paris will take place September 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will involve 45 percent of Paris—about 147 square miles—where motorized vehicles will be replaced with pedestrians and pedestrian- and family-friendly activities including community-organized outdoor entertainment and educational workshops for children. All motorized vehicles—including electric vehicles—are banned from roads that day, but bicycles are allowed.

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