When the cars vanish, Paris comes alive

Do you think Parisian people would survive without their cars? What if cars were banned from the city, would there be a strike? Or, would we open our minds and embrace the possibilities?

To get us out of our metal boxes and outside into the sunshine, there are free events for charity, bicycles, roller skates and entertainment delights. All for us to enjoy! These events aren’t just good for the environment; our health benefits and our sense of community gets a chance to grow too.

So, don’t hold your breath in a panic; instead breathe out a (fresh) sigh of relief!

The annual ‘Les 24h Vélib’

It’s free, and this year we’ll celebrate the 8th year of Vélib’! What could be better? All over Paris you’ll find city bikes for rent, and you’ll be able to enjoy them on the Avenue des Champs Elysées, which will be car-free! It will be closed to cars for the occasion.

Imagine it: the most beautiful avenue in the world free of noisy and polluting cars. What a luxury!

And not only do you get to rule the roads on your bike, but this event is also for a good cause, with funds being raised to support charities such as the WWF!

The weekly Pari Roller

Another free event, going strong since 1998, happens every Friday evening at 11pm on the dot, when hundreds of roller skaters (of all ages) gather in front of the Montparnasse Tower in order to enjoy the Parisian cobblestones for a full three hours. Parisians love their nightlife. You can hear them say: “Go hard or go home!”

Wherever the route takes you, the goal remains the same: a stunning opportunity to see vibrant Paris by night. Roller skate on roads free of smoky, noisy engines. Viva freedom!

On average, the Pari Roller attracts 10,000 roller skaters, and sometimes up to 25,000 in summer, but only a handful of brave roller skaters during a cold winter.

There are roller tours for families and beginners, every Sundays at 2pm.


No more cars in Paris

Image courtesy of Fanpop

French films, Oui Oui!

Seuls. Two centres on Gervais, a clumsy and stubborn policeman in Paris and Curtis, a crafty burglar. Gervais has been pursuing Curtis for years and dreams of one day finally stopping his criminal ways. One day, Gervais gets his big break when he finds himself on the Champs-Elysées alone with nobody but Curtis. With the Champs-Elysées emptied of all its inhabitants. Gervais tries to catch Curtis but who is going to benefit most from this new ‘playground’?

cars vanish from Paris

Image courtesy of Allocine

Think (and breathe) outside the box

With pollution peaking in the Paris area, the government has implemented some innovative measures to fight this pollution and protect our health.

One of them is the Alternate Driving Scheme, which follows the odd-even rule. What’s the odd-even rule? Well, on odd days only light vehicles (such as scooters, motorcycles and cars) with an odd number as the last digit on the number plate are allowed to travel on selected roads. And vice versa for even days. On odd-even days the speed limit is also reduced by 20 km/h and all public transport (RER, subway, buses, trams) is free!

And if you use Autolib’ (city electric cars for rent) you’ll also benefit with your first hour rent-free on odd-even days and all day rent-free on Vélib’.

But wait, there’s more

Parisians love the change of pace that comes with fewer cars on the road. We have the new ’Plan Vélo 2015-2020‘ to look forward to. With double the cycling ways we currently have, the Plan Vélo will light up the city! 

What do you think?

Do you think Parisians are happy to leave the cars at home and breathe some fresh air? Are you a proud rider? What’s your favourite reason for reducing the number of cars on the road? Do you appreciate the benefits for our environment, health and charities? Or is it pure pleasure and entertainment that gets you excited??

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Published: Sep 22, 2015

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