For one glorious day in September, the streets of Paris will be without traffic jams, car horns, or the smell of exhaust fumes. On “Journée sans voitures,” or Car Free Day, the city hopes to raise awareness of alternative transportation and the mindfulness that can come from experiencing all the city has to offer at a walking pace.
Following in previous years’ footsteps, Car Free Day will take place on September 25 this year. From the hours of 11am to 6pm all motorized vehicles will be banned from the streets, inviting cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians to revel in the quiet atmosphere of a carless city. The Conventions and Visitors Bureau states, “People from the Paris region and visitors will be able to enjoy a peaceful and breathable city with 648.15 kilometers of car-free roads, equivalent to 45% of the area of the city.”
The event is expanded this year to cover nearly ever neighborhood in the French capital. Car Free Day is the brainchild of non-governmental organization Paris Sans Voitures, Collectif Citoyen, who says the special day “emphasizes mobility issues, the fight against pollution, the reclaiming of public space.” There will be free outdoor activities for the public and a sense of camaraderie that is often missed when people buzz about in cars and buses.