Champs-Elysees is going car-free the first Sunday of each month

May 9, 2016, 11:25 a.m.
Arc de Triomphe and traffic along the Champs-Elysees at sunset with dramatic sky. The Champs Elysees is the most famous street in Paris.
Photo: pio3/Shutterstock

The famed road in the city center of Paris went car-free this weekend and thousands of pedestrians poured onto the road to explore the city's iconic area by foot. This was the first day of an ongoing plan to dedicate the first Sunday of every month to making parts of Paris car-free, in an effort to reduce pollution and promote the city's walkability.

"In March this year, a rise in air pollution briefly made Paris the most polluted city in the world, with smog so bad it almost completely obscured the city’s landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower," reports The Guardian. "The city was under pressure to make a gesture."

Residents and tourists alike took to the streets and the event, which lasted from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., was a success among those happy to enjoy the city's sights without the pressure, noise and pollution of cars. The event wasn't perfectly car-free, however, as busses and taxis were allowed even on the streets closed off to cars. Still, it is a start, and one that may encourage the public to push for fewer cars and more room for walking and cycling through the city.

Check out 7 other cities that are car-free.