Paris says Au Revoir to Cars – Sunday 27 September 2015

This weekend, our social media manager Lucy hopped on the Eurostar to Paris to see just how much of an impact the upcoming Car Free Day would have on the quality of air there. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

She arrived just before lunch on Saturday, but instead of opting for the usual al fresco seat at a Parisian café for a typically drawn out afternoon watching the world go by, she got out her CleanSpace app and Tag, and wandered the boulevards, to hunt down those infamous pollution hotspots (whilst also clocking up some serious CleanMiles!).

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From the Champs Elysees to the Eiffel Tower – she took some pretty interesting air pollution readings. Considering that it was a breezy day on Saturday, a measuring of 5 ppm (Carbon Monoxide) whilst walking along a pedestrianized area is quite worrying to say the least – fresh, clean air should have a reading of 0 ppm.

(Driving in Paris looks like a barrel of laughs… Not.)

Waking up on Car Free Day, there was a clear difference in the atmosphere. The grey clouds had been replaced with the brightest blue skies, whilst the sound of honking horns were now tweeting birds (and we don’t mean Lucy…*badumtish*).

(Left: Champs Elysees on Saturday – Right: Champs Elyees at the same time on Sunday)

The road-raging car drivers were now relaxed families enjoying a Sunday cycle, and the speedy motorcyclists were now teenage skaters weaving in and out of the traffic lights; all safe in the knowledge that their lungs weren’t being filled with pollution, and that there weren’t any cars about to sneakily overtake them.

It was a relief to see that the lowest air pollution reading on Sunday was 0 ppm. That is the type of air quality you’d expect to see when hiking in the Lake District, not standing next to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

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(Left: Arc de Triomphe on Saturday – Right: Arc de Triomphe at the same time on Sunday)

Lucy was SO excited about the fact she’d found a completely CleanSpace in Paris, that she wanted to shout it from the top of Centre Pompidou. Unfortunately, some of the locals didn’t share her enthusiasm. But maybe they were just sad that it couldn’t be a Car Free Day everyday. We certainly are.

Watch this space for some more detailed findings from our time in Paris.

The CleanSpace Team