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MAP: Where and when will Paris ban cars from the city centre?

Authorities in Paris have drawn up ambitious plans to limit traffic in the historic city centre - here's how the plans will work and the revised timetable for introduction.

MAP: Where and when will Paris ban cars from the city centre?
A cyclist rides her bike past Notre-Dame cathedral, which will be in the proposed 'calm zone'. Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

It was announced on Wednesday that authorities in Paris had delayed the introduction of their plan to limit vehicle use in the city centre.

Here’s how the new rules will work, and when they will be introduced.

Where?

This does not concern the whole of Paris, but only arrondissements 1-4, which make up much of the historic city centre that runs along the Seine and attracts the most tourists.

The below map from newspaper Le Parisien shows the central zone that will be affected by the new rules

When?

The plans were first announced in May 2021 and were set to come into effect in 2022.

However on Thursday, Paris authorities announced that the start date would be pushed back to 2024, as more preparation time was needed to implement the changes. They will also be conducting a full public enquiry throughout 2022.

The zone was also renamed the zone apaisée (calm zone).

The decision comes after the Paris Police préfecture, which has joint responsibility for the project along with City Hall, published a letter saying they did not support the immediate introduction of the plans due to concerns about access for emergency services, as well as the economic impact on the city.

An exact date for the introduction in 2024 has not been set, but Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire said it will start at the beginning of 2024, ahead the Paris Olympics, which will be held in July and August.

What?

The plans as envisaged by City Hall don’t constitute a complete ban on all vehicles in the city centre, and there are many exceptions.

The main target is through traffic – vehicles driving through the central zone on their way to another part of the city – which according to David Belliard, the Paris deputy mayor in charge of transportation, accounts for 50 percent of all traffic in the city centre.

There will be exemptions for people who live in the central zones to use cars, as well as allowances for delivery drivers, the disabled, taxis, VTC vehicles such as Uber, buses and car-sharing.

Also allowed in will be people whose “destination is the calm zone” – Belliard explained: “If I live there, if I work there, if I go to the cinema, to see friends, or to a shop… All this will be allowed.”

The zone will be enforced by both police checks at the entry and exit of the zone and also by more technical means such as number-plate recognition cameras for residents, although City Hall concedes that much will depend on “self regulation” of people following the rules.

Even with all the above exemptions, City Hall estimate that their plans will cut around 250,000 journeys a day.

Do Parisians support it?

Some do, some don’t. According to City Hall, 78 percent of people who answered their online and paper surveys (around 7,500 people) support the concept of limiting city-centre traffic.

But the project has also drawn vociferous criticism from many, who claim it will simply push traffic out to the less central arrondissements – which are less wealthy and attract fewer tourists – in effect simply moving the problem. The mayors of the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements, which lie just outside the zone, are opposed to it.

Opponents also claim it will unfairly target commuters from the outer suburbs, where public transport is often poor.

The scheme is part of a long-running effort from Paris authorities to make the city centre less polluted and more car and pedestrian friendly which has included pedestrianising the Quais along the Seine, barring traffic on certain roads such as the Rue de Rivoli and adding extra cycle lanes throughout the city centre. 

Banning older cars

In addition to the city-centre ban, Paris authorities are also phasing in restrictions on older and more polluting vehicles, based on the Crit-Air sticker system.

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SPORT

Chaos at Champions league final in Paris

There were chaotic scenes at the Champions League football final in Paris on Saturday night, with long queues, kick-off delayed, police firing tear-gas and fans trying to force their way into the stadium.

Chaos at Champions league final in Paris

The match between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC eventually got underway at 9.37pm, more than half an hour late, after chaotic scenes at the entry gates to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just outside Paris. 

At the slated kick-off time of 9pm thousands of fans were still outside, with some having been queuing to get in for for more than two hours.

Problems are reported to have begun several hours before kick-off, with a pre-check of tickets and bags at the exit of the RER station at Stade de France turning into a bottleneck.

As the crush increased, the check was eventually waived, but many of the entry gates to the stadium remained closed.

Police then staged an intervention, including using tear gas, at the stadium after some fans tried to force their way into the ground, telling French media that the measure was “to repel attempts to intrude into the stadium”.

In a statement released just as the match ended, organisers UEFA blamed “Liverpool fans who had purchased fake tickets” for the chaos.

The statement read: “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles.

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access.

“As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.

“UEFA is sympathetic to those affected by these events and will further review these matters urgently together with the French police and authorities, and with the French Football Federation.”

Several videos posted on social media showed fans either climbing over fences or trying to force their way into the stadium.

However Liverpool fans who had tickets were caught up in the chaos, with police spraying tear gas at fans waiting outside – including children.

An AFP journalist on the scene reported that about 20 succeeding in getting into the ground.

Many of the seats in the official Liverpool end of the ground remained empty 25 minutes after the scheduled start time. Kick-off was delayed twice, with an in-ground announcement saying it was down to “fans arriving late” while UEFA said they delay was “due to a security issue”.

British football pundit Gary Lineker was among those stuck in the crowds outside, tweeting that he was “finding it impossible to get into the ground”.

France’s Interior minister Gérald Darmanin also weighed into the argument, blaming British fans.

He tweeted: “Thousands of British ‘fans’, without tickets or with fake tickets have forced the entrances and, sometimes, behaved violently towards stewards. Thank you to the many police forces mobilised tonight in this difficult context.”

As estimated 60,000 Liverpool fans had travelled to Paris, most without tickets. Each club was allocated just 20,000 tickets for the 80,000-seater Stade de France.

The city of Paris had set up fan zones for fans without tickets – in Vincennes for Liverpool supporters and Saint-Denis for Real Madrid supporters. Both of these reached their full capacity before kick-off.

The match ended in a 1-0 win for the Spanish team.

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