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'Long live fresh air': Paris mayor opens car-free river bank

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'Long live fresh air': Paris mayor opens car-free river bank
All photos: AFP
09:50 CEST+02:00
Mayor Anne Hidalgo was on hand on Sunday to inaugurate the pedestrianized right bank of the River Seine.
The weather was fantastic on Sunday, ideal conditions for the official launch of the newly pedestrianized right bank of the River Seine. 
"We've dreamed of this moment for 15 years - but now pedestrians and the children can have this magnificent walkway," said Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
A throng of Parisians and tourists alike took to the river banks throughout the day, on foot, on bicycles, and on roller blades, with a swing band on hand for some background music. 
"We aren't anti-cars, we're anti-pollution. Long live life, long life Paris, and long live fresh air," the mayor added. 
She said that tour operators in Tokyo have already started to inform future tourists about the park.
The 3.3 kilometres stretch of roadway has actually been closed off to traffic since October 21st, while experts carried out tests to see the effects on traffic flow. 
Motorist groups have been far from impressed with the change, arguing that there must be other ways to improve pedestrianisation in Paris without cutting out a major artery in the city's traffic flow. 
Their voices were echoed by 168 mayors from across the greater Paris region, who in November joined forces in a failed bid to get the area reopened for cars. 
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