The streets of Paris will look completely different late next month. City officials have announced a plan to enforce a daylong car ban on Sunday, September 25.
Parisians will need to leave their car keys at the door from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Last year’s ban was limited to a handful of neighborhoods in the heart of the city, but this year’s has been expanded to include a majority of the districts in central Paris. The city hall predicts that 400 miles’ worth of pavement — including the most touristic areas — will be mostly car-free on the 25th.
We say mostly because it’s impossible to ban literally every single car in Paris. Evidently, law enforcement officials and emergency vehicles will be allowed to travel. Motorists who can prove that they live in the car-free zone will also be allowed to drive, taxis will be permitted to operate, and the city’s buses will continue to run as usual. However, city officials have made it clear that absolutely no personal or work-related travel will be allowed, unless it’s a medical emergency. What they haven’t disclosed is how much of a fine motorists who ignore the ban will need to pay.
The lack of cars won’t turn the French capital into a ghost town. Instead, Paris is putting together a massive fair that will include parades, street art, activities for kids, booths, and live music. Parisians are also encouraged to pack a lunch and participate in a huge picnic that will take place downtown.
Electric vehicles and motorcycles will be banned, too. City officials explain that banning cars for a day is a way to encourage Parisians to give up car ownership and adopt other mobility solutions, including car-sharing programs, public transportation, taxis, and biking.