By on September 28, 2015


Cars were banned from the city center of Paris for seven hours Sunday as that city finds ways to manage its growing pollution and congestion problems, Time reported. A group called Paris sans Voiture organized the event in an effort to bring attention to climate policy.

Buses, ambulances and other public transportation were allowed on city streets during the ban, however private vehicles were forbidden from city streets in a broad swath of neighborhoods and tourist destinations including the Champs Élysées, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, the Left Bank, the Place de la Bastille, the area around the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne.

The city will be hosting a UN Climate Change conference in December.

Paris isn’t the first city to host an event. According to the group Brussels has held similar car-free Sundays since 2002.

Critics said the day didn’t go far enough, that it should have been held on a weekday to completely cripple educate people in traffic, and that the city center’s perimeters weren’t broad enough.

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44 Comments on “Paris Bans Cars For Seven Hours, World Seems to Continue...”

  • avatar

    BTSR in 3, 2, 1…

  • avatar

    Paris traffic can get really bad. I can remember, some years ago, being gridlocked by car traffic on my bicycle, on Rue de Rivoli, for those who know Paris. The cars were so close together that I absolutely could not ride between them. I ultimately got myself off of Rue de Rivoli, and onto some other boulevard where I was able to proceed, but I was stuck through at least two traffic light cycles.

    • 0 avatar

      When visited I remember wondering, between the hideous traffic, tiny streets, high fuel prices, lack of parking and excellent and convenient public transportation, why would anyone bother trying to drive around Paris? You’d get around a lot quicker on the Metro. I’d imagine this sort of thing only inconveniences the elites, the rest of the 99% probably weren’t driving to begin with anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        lOmnivore Sobriquet

        “why would anyone bother trying to drive around Paris? ”
        Supplying this restaurant or that cloths’ shop for starters, and there must be a good 1000+ supermarkets to provide daily too… Or any business that requires a few tens of pounds of any sort of goods… generaly in a rush (Paris!!)
        But the current city council could’nt care less. Blondish young female students riding bicycles with a couple of PC books – printed in the suburbs – is all they manage to think about.

        • 0 avatar

          This is Europe. The ratio of American-style supermarkets to traditional farmers’ markets is incredibly low.

          This ban was for 7 hours on a Sunday, in case you missed it. Restaurants and other consumers of bulk goods are usually supplied in the early morning hours during the week.

          • 0 avatar
            lOmnivore Sobriquet

            VERY early morning hours for supply yes, I know…
            Otherwise everything in place goes against any natural economical behaviour, short of visiting museums for a ‘learning experience’ of course.

          • 0 avatar

            Everything “economical” (in this instance, just “economic” would be the proper usage) in the area of Paris where this ban was placed is within easy walking distance.

  • avatar

    “A group called Paris sans Voiture organized the event in an effort to bring attention to climate policy.”

    Why do folks attach everything to climate change/policies?

    Paris has two big problems neither of which is caused by climate change.

    Traffic congestion.
    Smog due to vehicle pollution.

    With those “in your face” problems why would they worry about climate change?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Just then, a Jetta TDi driver was cornered by the raving crowd and pummeled within a breath of his life. In hospital, he was later charged with environmental terrorism, facing up to 10 years in Bastille Prison.”

    Wait, are those people doing the Electric Slide?

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…why would they worry about climate change?”

    Because it’s a way to force socialism on people who would otherwise be smart enough to reject it.

    French GDP growth in 2013: 0.7%
    French unemployment: 10.5%

    Yay! Bring on the socialism!

  • avatar

    “The city will be hosting a UN Climate Change conference in December.”

    Instead, consider writing:
    “The city will host a UN Climate Change conference in December.”

    The (to be verb) (gerund) construction can be a pain to read.

  • avatar

    And the sky didn’t fall? Impossible.

  • avatar

    Some cretins did this in my neighborhood. I was going to pick up prepared food for a get together at a friend’s house and became massively inconvenienced. I don’t buy anything from the restaurants on the blocks that were barricaded anymore. Quite a few of them have closed since this experiment in living like a savage, although that’s been going on ever since 2009.

  • avatar

    Who’s the hefty one in the aqua top on the right (or left)?

    She’s clearly a tourist from Bentonville.

  • avatar

    Well, I was gonna buy a new Citroen. But now I’m not gonna.

    You’re welcome, Parisians. Improving people’s behavior by making everything inconvenient won’t really work as permanent solution. You’ve essentially just held an annoying block party on a Sunday afternoon.

  • avatar
    lOmnivore Sobriquet

    Don’t laugh.
    There might be a “world without car Day” pretty soon, very look-alike (hélàs…), and you won’t know where the decision would be coming from.

    Some ONG (or what’s the global acronym for this? NGO ?) with some connections certainly.
    I’m not sure, and feel sad about it, that even America would be able to derail that “renewable” caprice.
    Originated by a handfull, at most, of well connected talking heads nobody ever voted for.

    Are we helpless or what ?

    • 0 avatar

      That’s rubbish, and I won’t be going to work on that day if that’s the case. Neither will most other people living in US states who drive to work.

      • 0 avatar
        lOmnivore Sobriquet

        That’s right. I agree with this.
        Plain idiocy, and against people’s will, and life, and even against logics. But…
        Who will enforce it?, and more importantly, who will stand against, this ‘news’ announced as if it where wheather forecast, that one cannot avoid.

        A day without a car; why not ? it’s not evil… could be fun. But I see some people, especially when staring so easily at Paris’s ridicule, who begin to wonder where’s the ‘benevolent aim’ in all that, and who’s deciding this and why.

        One might be just joking at its test run currently. Paris mimicking Berkley or smthng. Don’t be surprised when the global version comes around.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t see it as good or bad or smart or stupid or anything. It just would not work in much of the U.S. Unlike much of Europe, which was built around foot traffic several hundred+ years ago, anywhere outside of major East Coast cities was built around trains, and after the trains left, around personal cars. All rural areas and most suburbs are, for good or bad, impossible to traverse quickly without a car.

          • 0 avatar

            I’d love to see a car ban tested in an area that has a Starbucks drive thru. Middle class white women would riot.

          • 0 avatar

            Also unlike Europe, we scrapped a lot of the train system after cars became better and more widespread. Europe continued using trains and modernizing and expanding their railways, while we shut down most of ours other than major connections mainly for freight.

  • avatar

    NYC shuts down Park Avenue every year on 3 Saturday mornings in August (“Summer Streets”). As a resident, pedestrian, cyclist, and driver: it’s glorious.

    • 0 avatar

      For the Papal visit, Center City Philadelphia became almost car-free for three days, and for those of us who live in the “traffic box” and didn’t leave town, it was wonderful. If, however, you had plans out of town but wanted to return during the restrictions, it was a huge hassle.

  • avatar

    What’s next, showing papers to a German to go somewhere?

    Perhaps the people need to bring the head removing devices back out?

    Having said that I’ve never been to Paris but I would imagine folks need move around for business and leisure purposes.

  • avatar
    lOmnivore Sobriquet

    “Critics said the day didn’t go far enough”

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I think this would work well for certain streets in San Francisco during the weekends. I love cars, but in dense, highly congested urban areas, there are definitely times when they become the least efficient method of transportation.

    It’s probably worth experimenting with in multiple cities and multiple implementations. Eventually, some cities may discover a formula that works. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than the status quo.

  • avatar

    Having a block party and celebrating won’t change the fact that the traffic/pollution is bad in their city.

    Instead of having a block party, the Parisians should DO something about the traffic and pollution.

    Since nothing’s happen, then those citizens don’t care enough to pester their politicians to change the laws or something.

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