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Paris goes more ambitious with second car-free day

Since 1 July, vehicles made before 1997 are not allowed to drive during most of the day in the city.

Eiffel Tower in Paris. PIcture: Twitter.

PARIS - Half of Paris' streets and avenues were car-free on Sunday as part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo's fight against air pollution, allowing families and tourists to wander on the roads around landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees.

The car ban covered a larger part of the city than last year's event, closing off more than 650 km of roads in the French capital and offering attractions such as skating sessions and a picnic on the banks of the Seine near city hall.

For Socialist mayor Hidalgo, who made the fight against pollution one of her top campaign themes in the 2014, the goal remains to show that Paris can operate without cars.

The city council decided last year to gradually ban any diesel vehicles made before 2011 by the end of the decade, building on a greater public awareness on air quality after several episodes of oppressive smog in Paris.

Since 1 July, vehicles made before 1997 are not allowed to drive during most of the day in the city, as well as motorcycles made before June 1999.