The French Iconic Avenue of Champs-Elysees Will Ban Cars for One Day Each Month

While Beijing and all the other major Chinese cities are stealing the headlines when it comes to air pollution, some European capitals aren't doing all that well themselves.
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Paris has well-known issues related to the quality of the air its residents - and millions of tourists for that matter - breathe each day. If you're familiar with those beautiful panoramic shots of the French capital where you can see everything, from the Eiffel Tower to the La Defense financial district, then forget about ever shooting one to match these days. Your investment in an ultra-wide lens and tripod will go down the drain as the air is full of smog and visibility is drastically impaired.

The authorities (backed by environment specialists) put this drastic turn of events on the growing number of vehicles in general and diesels in particular. And it's hard to argue with facts: like in any other European country, the French have also fallen in love with the low fuel consumption levels of the diesel engine, and so they've started to outweigh the sales of gasoline cars lately.

The authorities have been looking for a solution, and they seem to have settled on something. Even though the actual impact won't probably be too drastic, they've decided to completely ban the access of any vehicle on the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard for one day each month. It feels like a drop in the ocean, but it's a start, and it's a good way of easing people (read "drivers") into the idea of not having access to an increasing area of the city center.

The plan is to make every first Sunday of each month car-free on the world-famous artery, but the measure won't debut this week, as it was supposed to. May 1st happens to be on a Sunday, but it's also a national holiday in France (and throughout Europe) with a lot of the municipality's employees getting a day off, so it has been postponed for next week.

Paris is very likely to see a lot more drastic measures being taken in the future, so the motorists who live in denial and get mad at something so minor as having the Champs-Elysees closed for a day are in for a very nasty surprise. The Verge reports that Mayor Anne Hidalgo intends to ban all diesel cars in Paris by 2020, as well as spreading the area affected by the "no car day" to the whole city this year. So if you're French and think of buying a diesel car, you might want to reconsider. Also, if you own one, now's the time to sell it.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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