Paris to drive cars off River Seine’s right bank

With the left bank of the River Seine safely in the hands of pedestrians, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo now wants to take away the right bank from the city’s cars.

Paris to drive cars off River Seine's right bank
The right bank of the River Seine could look like this in the future. Image: Luxigon

The mayor of Paris’s war on automobiles looks set to continue apace.

On Tuesday Anne Hidalgo launched her plan to turn the right bank of the River Seine into the city’s latest pedestrian zone.

It follows a similar move by her predecessor Bertrand Delanoë, whose flagship scheme to close the highway along the left bank has been deemed a success even if it angered motorist groups.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday Anne Hidalgo said: “It’s an urban project, almost philosophical, which is to envisage a city in an alternative way than through the use of cars.”

Hidalgo pointed to the work done in cities like Lyon and Bordeaux, which have been lauded for reclaiming parts of the river banks for pedestrians.

“The transformation of an urban highway into a promenade will be very strong marker of this mandate,” she added.


Hidalgo, who vowed to reduce traffic in the city, said the Georges-Pompidou highway on the right bank of the Seine – part of a Unesco World Heritage Site, will be permanently handed over to pedestrians after the annual Paris Plage festival in 2016.

As a result the 2,700 vehicles that pass along the highway each hour at peak times, will be moved elsewhere and their place will be taken by riverside gardens, games areas and people out for a stroll.

A period of public consultation will now begin over exactly how much of the river bank highway will be closed off to traffic.

Two options are on the table: Reclaiming the portion of highway that runs between the Pont de Sully and Châtelet or the more ambitious project of transforming the much longer stretch between Tuileries Tunnel and Port de L’Arsenal.

Motorist group 40 Million Motorists are opposed to the scheme and have set up an online petition.


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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro