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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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POLITICS

Rugby tickets, coffee and stickers – French presidential candidates chastised over expenses claims

From coffee runs to rugby tickets and professional photos - France's election financing body has revealed some of the items it has refused to reimburse from the 2022 presidential race.

Rugby tickets, coffee and stickers - French presidential candidates chastised over expenses claims

Spending on the election trail is tightly regulated in France, with maximum campaign spends per candidate as well as a list of acceptable expenses that can be reimbursed.

In France the State pays at least some of the election campaign costs, with the budget calculated according to how many votes the candidate ends up getting. 

READ MORE: 5 things to know about French election campaign financing

On Friday, the government body (la Commission nationale des comptes de campagne et des financements politiques – or CNCCFP) released its findings for the 12 candidates who ran in the April 2022 presidential campaign. 

All of the candidates had their accounts approved, but 11 out of the 12 were refused reimbursement on certain items. Here are some of the items that did not get CNCCFP approval;

Rugby tickets 

Jean Lassalle – the wildcard ‘pro farmer’ candidate who received about three percent of votes cast in the first round of the 2022 election – bought “19 tickets to attend a rugby match” according to the CNCCFP’s findings. The organisation said it would not be reimbursing the tickets and questioned “the electoral nature of the event”. 

The total cost of the tickets was €465 (or €24.50 each).

Too many coffees

Socialist candidate, and current mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo reportedly spent at least €1,600 on coffee for her team during the campaign.

According to the CNCCFP, however, the caffeine needed to keep a presidential campaign running did not qualify under the country’s strict campaign financing rules.

Too many stickers

Hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s was told that the 1.2 million stickers that were bought – to the tune of €28,875 – to advertise the campaign would not be reimbursed. Mélenchon justified the purchasing of the stickers – saying that in the vast majority of cases they were used to build up visibility for campaign events, but CNCCFP ruled that “such a large number” was not justified. 

Mélenchon was not the only one to get in trouble for his signage. Extreme-right candidate Éric Zemmour was accused of having put up over 10,000 posters outside official places reserved for signage. The same went for the far-right’s Marine Le Pen, who decided to appeal the CNCCFP’s decision not to reimburse €300,000 spent on putting posters of her face with the phrase “M la France” on 12 campaign buses.

Poster pictures

Emmanuel Macron – who won re-election in 2022 – will not be reimbursed for the €30,000 spent on a professional photographer Soazig de la Moissonière, who works as his official photographer and took the picture for his campaign poster. 

The CNCCFP said that Macron’s team had “not sufficiently justified” the expenditure.

Expensive Airbnbs

Green party member Yannick Jadot reportedly spent €6,048 on Airbnbs in the city of Paris for some of his campaign employees – an expense that the CNCCFP said that public funds would not cover.

Translating posters

The campaign finance body also refused to reimburse the Mélenchon campaign’s decision to translate its programme into several foreign languages at a cost of €5,398.

The CNCCFP said that they did not consider the translations to be “an expense specifically intended to obtain votes” in a French election.

Best and worst in class

The extreme-right pundit Zemmour had the largest amount of money not reimbursed. Zemmour created a campaign video that used film clips and historic news footage without permission and also appeared on CNews without declaring his candidacy – because of these two offences, CNCCFP has reduced his reimbursement by €200,000. He has been hit with a separate bill of €70,000 after he was found guilty of copyright infringement over the campaign video. 

The star pupil was Nathalie Arthaud, high-school teacher and candidate for the far-left Lutte Ouvriere party, who apparently had “completely clean accounts”. A CNCCFP spokesperson told Le Parisien that if all candidate accounts were like Arthauds’, then “we would be unemployed”.

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