Parisians and tourists are being encouraged to stroll through the City of Light as officials have banned cars from its streets for a day

People walk on the champs Elysees avenue during the "day without cars", with the Arc de Triomphe in background, in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Parisians and tourists are being encouraged to stroll through the city as officials have banned cars from its streets for a day, the first time the entire city is being handed over to ramblers, cyclists and roller-bladers. (AP Photo/Thiabult Camus)

- Associated Press
Monday, October 2nd 2017, 14:43 pm EDT

PARIS (AP) — Parisians and tourists were encouraged to stroll through the City of Light on Sunday as officials banned cars from its streets for a day.

Paris has experimented with car-free days in the past, but Sunday marked the first time the entire city was handed over to ramblers, cyclists and roller-bladers.

Only emergency vehicles, buses and taxis were allowed on the streets from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Paris time.

"It's nice for the air quality, for enjoying the city, walking around without any noise, without any risk to be run over by a car," Maxime Denis said as he strolled near Place de la Republique in the city center. "But it should be a real no car day. There are still a few so we are careful."

Another resident, Francois Boillat, noted that "as a Parisian, I only use public transport all the time, even though I have a car buried in a sixth basement car park and I barely use it. It is a bit stupid. I should sell it."

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo was elected on a promise to curb air pollution and reduce car traffic in the French capital, where vehicle emissions are often high.

The car-free day created a potential headache for the organizers of Paris fashion week, who rely on trucks to install and remove lavish, sky's-the-limit shows. Worried fashion houses like Valentino sent out numerous email reminders to guests who planned to arrive by car, reminding them to organize alternative transport.

The Paris couture federation, which supports the initiative, spent months working with police and local authorities to ensure events ran smoothly.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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