This article originally appeared here.
The city's iconic thoroughfare was closed to traffic on Sunday, for what will be a regular event.
From 'ventilation corridors' in Beijing to pigeons with backpacks flying over London, cities around the world have had to get creative when it comes to battling pollution. Now, it's the City of Light's turn: On Sunday in Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo instituted a car-free day on the city's Champs-Élysées in an attempt to cut carbon emissions. Thousands flocked to the thoroughfare to enjoy the 1.2-mile walk along a route usually backed up with bumper-to-bumper traffic, ending at the Arc de Triomphe.
The car-free day on the city's popular avenue will be a regular event, occurring on the first Sunday of every month, allowing residents and visitors alike to soak in the sights without the stress of traffic. The thoroughfare attracts some 300,000 visitors a day, according to AFP, and until now has only been closed to automobile traffic on special occasions like New Year's Eve.
Residents are supportive of the move for more regular carless days. "All of Paris should be like this," a Parisian told AFP. "We have to stop poisoning people, we need to open up the city. There should be more public transport and more taxis, but we don't need cars in Paris." Tourists also seemed to enjoy the cleaner air, and the ability to take a Sunday stroll to one of France's most iconic landmarks. "You get a totally different perspective when you see Paris like this," said one visitor from Spain. "I am glad they are going to do this again."
The monthly closure of the Champs-Élysées is one of nine new routes that will be reserved for pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Sundays and public holidays as part of the city's "Paris Respire" (Paris Breathes) anti-pollution program. It's a big enough move to plan your next Paris trip to coincide with the first Sunday of the month, so you can breathe easy, and take in the beauty of one of the world's most famous streets at your own pace.