• Why a Car Free Day in Paris

    To rediscover our city free of motors

    A day for desirable futures

    When we made our proposal to the City in 2015, it was an impossible dream. Now, it has become an annual event that is bringing about lasting transformations.
    One day a year, we are able to experience a more liveable city. It's not a day focused on banning the car, it's a festive, curious, committed and civic-minded day. It's an opportunity to rediscover the streets open to our creativity, and explore soft mobility. It's an opportunity to reflect on sharing public space, and accelerate the evolution of behaviours towards the car. We hope that the event will be a trigger for political leaders to reduce the use of cars in a sustainable way.
     
    The whole Paris without is a strong symbol that shows that Paris is fighting boldly and decisively against road traffic pollution and the climate crisis. It's more than a desire, it is a cry from the heart: Our city must send a strong signal to the whole world, in line with the current challenges and allows and project itself into the world of tomorrow.
     
    It's an invitation to get positively involved in the transformations of our city. This event, initiated by a few inhabitants and co-constructed with the City, proves the strength of a dream when it's shared.
     
    It is an exceptional laboratory for measuring the impact of visual, atmospheric and noise pollution, and a precious measuring tool for the acceptability of deeper changes.

    An impact measured from the start

    Reduced pollution, a larger perimeter, street happenings.

    2015: first time in the centre of Paris. Main criticism: "it's too small!" Despite the reduced perimeter, there is already a 20 to 40% drop in nitrogen oxide emissions and twice as much noise.
    2016: the perimeter is multiplied by 5 but it is complex and poorly understood.
    2017: for the first time, ALL Paris is car-free! But panic in the "Paris Respire" zones that had been reopened to traffic.
    2018: all of Paris car-free, with "Paris Respire" zones and a large central area made safe. Les Lilas organised a Car Free Day in the heart of the town.
    2019: once more, all of Paris without cars. Several neighbouring municipalities join the event and pedestrianize part of their territory.
    2020: the event only barely maintained and with a shortened timeframe due to covid context. Lack of communication, lots of traffic, non-respect of the speed limit.
    2021: success of the first coordination between our association, the Convergence MDB, Repar, Rue aux Enfants and Alternatiba to articulate a beautiful program of animations with the Place de la Concorde, despite worries with the Police Headquarters. Again, lack of communication, lots of traffic, non-respect of the speed limit.

     

    Permanent transformations of the city

    More and more pedestrian and cycle areas

    We don't want a one-off day followed by 364 days of car suffocation. We therefore welcome the sustainable transformations made by the city since the first Car Free Day in 2015. The Champs Élysées has become pedestrian one Sunday a month since 2016. The number of "Paris Respire" zones is expanding every year. The centre of Paris is being pedestrianised. The cycling network is expanding. Streets are being pedestrianised in front of schools. But there is still a lot to do. We encourage the City to go much further with courage, speed and determination to make the private car the exception.

     

    Future Car-Free Days must be improved
    To ensure that everyone benefits safely and to encourage sustainable changes in behaviour.
    We ask the city of Paris, the RATP and Île-de-France Mobilités to do everything possible to :
    1- Significantly reduce car and motorised two-wheeler traffic.
    2- Communicate in advance so that everyone is aware of the event and can organise themselves on the day, in particular by switching the traffic lights to flashing orange during the event.
    3- Offer free public transport and promote it with small flags.
    4- Encourage civic activities with procedures similar to those used for World Music Day, allowing for a broad involvment of all.
    5- Develop the educational dimension of the event with road safety education, the presentation of actions promoting soft mobility, etc.
    6- Break down the boundaries of the ring road and involve neibouring towns.
    7- Introduce one car-fre-day per month to accelerate the evolution of practices.

     

  • The festive happenings we've organised since 2015

     

     

    Bird parade

    Car-Free Day 2020

     In a couple of days and amid reinforced covid sanitary measures, we plan to improvise a "cooing" Bird Parade all dressed up in feathered capes, with our friends and partners:
    Street Art Rebellion, La Rue Est A Nous, TEP Ménilmontant, Vélorution Paris IdF, Cafézoïde, Respire, Le Pré en Transition, La Voie est Libre, Solar Sound System, the cyclo-logistics cooperative Olvo, Delphine Kohler.

     

    Quartier Libre , transformation of a popular district

    Car-Free Day 2019

    On September 22nd, many events transformed the streets of the 10th arrondissement into the Street of Siestas, Street of Sports, Street of Music, etc. to materialize our dream of the city of tomorrow with inhabitants and actors performing in the streets. Everything was exceptional! Discover the scene of this day.

    www.quartierlibre.paris

    Unusual walk with Rob Hopkins from Pré St Gervais to Paris X

    Car-Free Day 2019

    On a bike, rollerblades or on a giant lighthouse, we crossed Paris with our friends from the Pré St Gervais and discovered the historical monuments from an angle that's usually obstructed because of cars. In spite of heavy rain, a delicious zero-waste soup made for a comforting welcome upon arrival in Quartier libre.

    Create a leggy garden

    with Claude Ponti

    Car-Free Day

    We co-initiated this "where everyone wins"' contest with Claude Ponti and publisher L'École des Loisirs. Many children created imaginative garden costumes to walk around during the day without a car, and they won books.

    To see the results of the competition click here

     

    Children's Streets

    Car-Free Days 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019

    We support the streets wher our children can actively develop and that display joyful signage to help share the space with the bikes. 

    Motorless parades

    Car-Free Days 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019

    Every year, we organize with our friends from Vélorution and MDB a giant ride on bicycle, scooters, wheelbarrows or in ORNI's (Unidentified Rolling Objects).100% oil-free but brimful of fantasy and fun! Among the stars: cardboard bike-cars, a giant lighthouse, musicians on wheels and a blue dragon.

    The Place de la Concorde is ours!

    Car-Free Day 2018

    On September 16, we invited young and old to take part in a festive, sporty and zero waste picnic held on the Place de la Concorde, with poppies abounding and cars nowhere to be found. Throughout Heritage Days, this was a rare opportunity to enjoy a magnificent square usually overrun by a 14-lane urban highway.

    Claude Ponti's chicks invade Paris

    Car-Free Day 2017

    The children were invited to find an unusual place in the streets to stick chicks (repositionable stickers), and photograph them. Within 4 hours, they sent more than 3000 pictures. This contest was organized with Claude Ponti, publishing house L'école des Loisirs, media libraries, bookshops and several borough town halls. 

    Village of mobile initiatives with Les Grands Voisins

    Car-Free Day 2016

    On September 25th, Les Grands Voisins sported the colors of soft mobility. Teaming with the Cartons Pleins bicycle movers, they hosted round-table discussions, bicycle-hiking workshops, a race of anything and everything, a cyclo-restaurant, a musical parade and a big ball...

    DIY 0 waste workshops to prepare events in the street

    Since 2015

    We prepared parades and animations during open workshops using recycled material: construction of cardboard bikes and cars, decoration of bikes and scooters with nothing much. Tutorial to build a "car bike".

  • Campaigns

    We participate in campaigns with international partners.

    Make way for the next generation!

    kidical mass started as an initiative of parents in Cologne and has grown into a worldwide movement in the last 3 years.
    These critical masses full of children champion cities where children can move around safely and independently by bike, and more generally for cities where life is good. “Make way for the next generation” is the motto, based on the principle that a child-friendly city is a city that is good for everyone. Kidical mass gives a voice to children and a positive image of the future, creating a meeting between cyclists from 0 to 99 years old, well beyond the usual public.
    The Paris sans voiture association is proud to have been chosen as the French partner of the Car Free Mega Cities project, which connects the experiences of Paris, London and New York, to challenge our elected officials and motivate activists to reimagine cities in which the car no longer has the predominant place it has today.

     

    Imagine Paris, London, and New York without cars

    We would like to inspire a friendly competition between the three cities to give priority to people and nature in public spaces.
    We all share the awareness of the necessity to make our cities evolve extremely quickly, the desire to have constructive links with elected officials by having strong proposals – and not only in opposition as is often the case – and the desire to share the experience of our cities.
    The open letter sent to the mayors of Paris, London and New York.

    Coalition La Rue Est A Nous (The Street Is Ours)

    Citizens committed to ensuring that transport is not at the expense of the climate, our health, or our safety.

    It is possible, other cities have done it, and we will succeed in Paris during the next mandate if we mobilize collectively.

    Led by Alternatiba Paris in collaboration with Friends of the Earth Paris, Extinction Rebellion, France Nature Environnement Paris, Greenpeace, les inCOPruptibles, Mieux se Déplacer en Bicyclette, Paris sans Voiture, Respire, Rue de l’avenir, Transport et environnement and la Voie est Libre,

    The website La Rue Est A Nous

    A European campaign for zero emission transport in cities by 2030

    The Clean Cities Campaign is a new European movement of environmental, health and other civil society organisations, which aims to encourage cities move towards zero emission transport by 2030. The campaign promotes active, shared and electric mobility for a more liveable and sustainable urban future, which also requires the elimination of polluting vehicles in cities within a decade.

    We are participating in this campaign as part of the Clean Streets Coalition.

    The Cleancities campaign website

  • Our other actions

    We are mobilizing against air pollution and to make the streets child-friendly.

    Here are some actions in which we are participating with partners and friends.

    The Street is Ours Campaign

    2020

    We join the campaign led by Alternatiba Paris with Friends of the Earth Paris, Extinction Rebellion, France Nature Environnement Paris, Greenpeace, les inCOPruptibles, Mieux se Déplacement en Bicyclette, Paris sans Voiture, Respire, Rue de l'avenir, Vélorution, and la Voie est Libre, which aims to halve the place of cars and motorized two-wheelers in Paris. To find out more about the campaign

    Pedestrianization of school grounds

    2020

    We are partnering with Respire to call for the immediate pedestrianization of school grounds while there is a health risk, and then on a long-term basis.

    Sign the petition here.

    Respire

    Let's play in the Children's Streets

    201520172017- 2018- 20192019

    We run funny tours.

    When the street is free of cars, it's an occasion to test slalom skiing on bottles.

     

    Stroller Funeral March

    November 1, 2018

    "Breathing shouldn't kill!" Yet, the WHO report published October 29th reveals that children are the first victims of air pollution: 600,000 children die from it every year, thousands develop serious disorders in Paris. To denounce this, we marched to the morgue with the collective Respir’Action.

    Masked statues because breathing kills

    March 31, 2018

    We masked more than a hundred statues in Paris, to urge politicians to take much-needed action against pollution.

    Air de Paris - Special vintages

    Peak pollution December 2016

    Alas, excessive consumption of Paris air is a health hazard. During a serious pollution peak, we distributed bottles of “Air de Paris Appellation of Polluted Origin”. You can select your choice vintage of diesel, motorcyclists, wood heating…

  • It's not numbers, it's our lives.

    2

    You're most exposed to pollutio while in a car. The level can be twice as high as for a pedestrian on the sidewalk. With the collective Respir’Action.

    8

    On December 13, 2013, the Parisian air was as polluted as a 215 sq. ft room occupied by 8 smokers.

    25

    At the age of 40, the sedentary lifestyle has led to a 25% loss of cardiovascular capacity in the youngest age group.

    27

    To travel 1,8 miles in heavy traffic, it takes a motorist 27 minutes and a cyclist 12 minutes.

    33

    33% of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change in Île-de-France are emitted by road traffic..

    40

    During the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the 22% reduction in traffic reduced children's asthma-related hospitalizations by more than 40%.

    50

    13% of trips are made by car or motorcycle in Paris, but 50% of public space is reserved for these motorized modes of transportation.

    80

    In Paris, 80% of vehicles carry only one person. Only 10% come from the outer suburbs.

    2500

    About 2,500 people a year lose their lives prematurely because of the air they breathe in Paris, 60 times more than the number of deaths in road accidents.

  • Who are we?

    We are a bunch of Parisians who proposed to the city to launch a car-free day all over Paris.

    We have been speaking about it independently since 2014.

     

    We come from all walks of life and include people from the Paris region, ages 7 to 89, bringing together a variety of professions, active volunteers in different organizations and dreamers. We have a range of personalities who have supported the project from day one: scientists, artists and many others.

     

    We are organized as an independent association of the municipality, voluntary and apartisan. We actively engage in dialogue with the city so that the inhabitants are considered real actors of the project. We bring ideas and accompany the process in a critical, vigilant and constructive way, so that the event can pave the way to lasting transformations. 

     

    The following collectives and associations are committed to supporting us in creating a car-free day that reflects the spirit of citizenship spirit we believe in. Agir pour l'environnement, Les Alchimistes, Alternatiba Paris, Amis de la Terre Paris, Avaaz, Cafézoïde, Cyclofficine, Dédale, Disco soupe, Festival des Utopies Concrètes, Fullmobs, REFEDD, Respir'action, Réseau Action Climat RAC, Réseau AMAP, Terre de liens idf, Transition France, Vélorution, Vergers Urbains, La Voie est Libre, We are ready now. What brings us together: the values of this ambitious citizen project.

     

    We want the Paris experience to inspire other cities, just as we have been inspired by other initiatives around the world, such as the Ecofestival on the La Voie est Libre motorway in Montreuil or the Car Free Day in Brussels.

  • Contact us

    Want to get involved with us? An idea to share?