It has become one of the traditional back-to-school gatherings in the Paris region. Paris Breathe Day, formerly known as Car-Free Day, returns on Sunday 18 September. “Like last year, the entire city will be reserved for non-polluting traffic, that is bicycles, roller skates, scooters, skateboards, pedestrians and users of public transport”, states the city of Paris.
Let it be said: motor vehicles, including electric ones, will be prohibited from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the entire capital area. The four central districts will even be pedestrianized with barriers. However, residents can circulate by being given a document as proof.
Only buses, taxis, VTC and emergency vehicles will be able to circulate
“Paris breathes in all circles (including the Paris breathe center sector), only buses, emergency vehicles and taxis will be allowed to circulate, with a maximum permitted speed of 20 km/h”, clarifies the Municipality. In the rest of the Paris area, buses, emergency vehicles, taxis and VTCs will be able to circulate with a maximum permitted speed set at 30 km/h.
Car-free Sunday, launched in 2015, has gradually grown to become a festive event and a place for discussion on the theme of “active and carbon-free” mobility. According to the organization Airparif, the absence of exhaust gases during this day has a beneficial effect on air quality, with 7% less concentration of pollutants in the air in the capital compared to other Sundays. Here are the key events in this 8th edition.
A cycling city at La Concorde
At the initiative of the Parisian Network of Participatory and Solidarity Bike Workshops (RéPAR) and the Paris City Hall, the associative village Fête place aux vélo has been set up on the Place de la Concorde, one of the places in the capital with regular traffic by cars, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. On the programme: a bicycle exchange, a self-repair workshop and a bicycle tag service (Bicycode) will be present. Unusual bikes will be visible on a test track, all accompanied by concerts and street performances. An exhibition of comics on the theme of the bicycle, produced by the Association Mémoire et BD, will also be visible. Among the albums presented is the excellent “Auto bio”, by Cyril Pedrosa, published by Éditions Fluide Glacial, and his humorous slice of life as a cyclist in Paris.
La Paride, a parade of bicycles from Pantin to Belleville
Another highlight: the big musical parade that brings together all kinds of cyclists. The associations Yes We Camp, Klimakademiet, MDB and RéPAR join forces to give birth to a large festive peloton. The start will be given at 1.30 p.m., place de la Pointe à Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis). The procession then goes to the Parc de Belleville (Paris XX.), where the collective Gogo Green promises to get the audience dancing, from 17.00 to 21.00.
La Grosse Rando for those who love urban sliding
Fans of gyroroues, longboards, skateboards and other roller skates will also benefit from the absence of cars on the road to have a blast over 18 km. La Grosse Rando is open to everyone and at all levels. A first gathering is planned for 10 a.m. on the Champ-de-Mars, before another on the Anatole-France quay between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The start signal will be given in the direction of Trocadéro, for an arrival around 5:30 p.m.
Free rides on Vélib’
Please note that Vélib’ offers, for one day, a free mechanical or electric bicycle ride of 45 minutes, for all subscriptions with the promotional code “PARISRESPIRE”. Finally, the startup Upway, which specializes in refurbished e-bikes, will be present from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Place de la Bastille. The opportunity to try models at attractive prices for free.