Paris Is Banning Cars For An Entire Day So Bikers And Pedestrians Can Experience The City In A Whole New Light — VIDEO

On Sunday, September 27, people in Paris will wake up to an unusual sound: The quiet of a city without cars. In an effort to raise awareness of the pollution plaguing the City of Light, Paris will ban cars for a full day, making allowances only for ambulances and other essential vehicles. The first through the seventh, and the eleventh and tenth arrondissements (the neighborhoods at the center of the city) will all be car free, as well as areas surrounding the Eiffel Tower, Bastille, Champs Élysées, and other major congregating sites. According to Forbes, when Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo accounced the “Journée Sans Voiture” in March, she said,

Paris will be completely transformed for a day. This is an opportunity for Parisians and tourists to enjoy the city without noise, pollution and therefore without stress.

The event will coincide with European Mobility Week (an annual campaign to promote sustainable mobility) in mid-September and with a U.N. climate conference that will be held in Paris in late November. Paris isn’t the only place testing out a car-free lifestyle: Major cities including Montreal, Brussels, Mexico City, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bogota have also begun Day Without Cars programs, banning cars to various degrees. These Day Without Cars campaigns work to increase awareness of the serious climate and pollution issues threatening major cities, but they also allow people to experience their cities in new ways, stripped of the sounds and smells of cars and the constant pressure of traffic, and to instead imagine what a less car-dependent future could be like. I suspect that Paris's car-free Sunday will show that a such a future would look, sound, and smell pretty amazing.

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