The plans, which include new tram and underground lines, are the brainchild of Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe – described as a car hater – who last year transformed a major route usually busy with cars into a temporary beach resort.
Delanoe closed off the expressway along the right bank of the River Seine and created artificial beaches at what was called Paris-Plage. At the time, he said the unusual initiative was the first stage of a plan to 'reconquer the banks of the Seine and get rid of private motor traffic'.
In his latest plans, the mayor wants to have two open-air swimming pools built floating on the Seine and replace riverside roads with footpaths, cycle paths and parks. The aim of reducing the number of vehicles allowed into the city centre is to allow pedestrians and cyclists to move more freely.
European fleets are annually given a glimpse of the car-free city centre of the future when more than 35 countries ban cars from their main cities for a day. The car-free day is usually held during the second half of the year and its organisers say it aims to encourage the use of alternative forms of transport.