I happened to be in Paris on the first Sunday in October last year, when an eerie silence fell over one of the world’s noisiest cities. This was the annual “Journée sans ma voiture,” or Day Without My Car. But instead of implementing it in a small area of the city as in the past, Mayor Anne Hidalgo had banned non-essential vehicles from the streets of the entire French capital for the day.
Who could be against that, I thought? This was Sunday, after all. And even the most secularist of Parisians take their “day of rest” seriously. This is a city where Sunday shopping is still only allowed in tourist zones. And French society is still the most family-centred of Western cultures.
But on this Sunday, Paris was deserted. And it wasn’t only the roads that were empty. So were the sidewalks, parks and cafés. Things picked up by mid-afternoon, as families came out to go inline skating or bicycling where cars usually rolled. But this was no typical Paris Sunday, where locals and tourists line up at sidewalk cafés to drink, slouch and puff the afternoon away. It was dead silent, and frankly kind of depressing.
Full Story here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-anti-car-mayor-of-paris-alienating-her-citizens-with-refusal-to/