How does a car-free Sunday in Paris look?

Paris was car-free, only in parts of Paris, and it was such a wonderful experience. Paris wants to lead an example for the upcoming climate conference, and they gave an excellent performance on Sunday. There was silence in some parts of the city where usually car noise is the only sound you hear. The very big blue sky over the city made it an even more impressive event. It invites everybody to dream up inner cities without cars. Cities like Paris have an excellent public transport system and it would work, the big question is why so many still use their cars to get from A to B in town. 

There is nothing like silence plus a blue sky - yes there is Superman

Car-Free Sunday in Paris

There were runners, starting their run early in the chill of the autumn air. It got warmer during the course of the day and there were cyclists everywhere, and even young ones who could cycle around without their parents fearing they will get knocked from their bikes. There was this impressive skateboard group where some of the skaters wore Superman outfits. What a dynamic but very quiet scene to look at, the only noise you heard was the whistle announcing their arrival at junctions. A lady at an open air yoga event told me this is an absolute first on this street near the Hotel de Ville but they would love to do this more often.

Initiatives of the past to reduce air pollution were met with mixed emotions. On days with very bad pollution, the city regulated the use of private cars, as in odd numbers on the number plate were allowed to drive on this day and even numbers on this day. On these days public transport was free to use for everyone. We had this during the drought in Melbourne when water usage was regulated, odd house numbers could water plants on Wednesday and even house numbers on Thursday (just an example).

Yoga event on a street in central Paris

Paris has got a bike rental scheme in place: Velib is used by locals as well as by tourists. And for tourists walking is the best way to discover Paris anyway. But what about people who need to get to work at strange hours of the day, when a car seems the only option to arrive on time and safe? What about deliveries? Rarely is an issue Black or White or All or Nothing. It is simply amazing to see what projects are out there to try to make the world a greener place. Do you take measures to make it better?

From Berlin with love