Europe

Paris Champs Elysees: Crowds flock to car-free thoroughfare

People walk on the Champs Elysees in Paris (08 May 2016) Image copyright AP
Image caption Tourists and Parisians took advantage of sunny weather and no cars

Thousands of people have taken advantage of a move by the authorities in Paris to close the famous Champs Elysees thoroughfare to traffic.

Enthusiastic crowds strolled among the shops and cafes of the eight-lane avenue, which is normally choked with cars, trucks and motorbikes.

The car-free day is being repeated on the first Sunday of each month.

It is the brainchild of Mayor Anne Hidalgo and is designed to lower excessively high air pollution.

The first of the monthly pedestrian-only days was declared a convincing success by tourists and residents of the city who were able to enjoy the 2km long (1.2-mile) avenue leading to the Arc de Triomphe.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pedestrian-only Sundays in the Champs Elysees are to be held monthly
Image copyright AP
Image caption Pedestrians were able to watch a variety of street performers on the famous thoroughfare
Image copyright AFP
Image caption French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (left) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (right) both enjoyed the occasion
Image copyright AP
Image caption The pedestrian-only day is one of a variety of measures taken by the Paris authorities to reduce pollution

"It's magnificent," AFP news agency reported city resident Roger, 67, who lives just off the Champs-Elysees, as saying.

"All of Paris should be like this," he said.

Paris city authorities have taken various measures to reduce pollution levels, including rental bicycles, cycling paths and a fleet of electric cars.

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