Paris is trying out a car-free day in a bid to cut down on air pollution. The experiment comes two months before the French capital hosts a landmark United Nations summit on climate change.
The center of Paris has turned into a pedestrian oasis for a day as the city tries out a ban on cars to cut down on air pollution.
In an initiative led by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, cars have been forbidden to drive in many inner-city neighborhoods from 11 am to 6 pm local time (0900 UTC to 0400 UTC) on Sunday. Buses, ambulances, police vehicles, fire trucks, taxis and some delivery vehicles are still allowed.
The ban primarily affects the city center, with traffic still circulating in many outer suburbs. Police have set up checkpoints to ensure the ban is complied with in the stipulated area.
Hidalgo said she wanted to prove the city could still function even without car traffic.
Mayors from Sao Paulo, Brussels and Bristol were in Paris to see the event kick off.
Paris is regularly affected by pollution and haze, and car traffic has been reduced by partial bans in the past. Cars with a license plate ending in an even number were forbidden from taking to the streets for 24 hours in March after a pall of heavy smog hung over the city for a week.
The event comes just two months before Paris is due to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will aim to bring about a historic binding agreement on the part of all the nations of the world to take measures to combat the causes and effects of global climate change.
tj/sms (AP, dpa)