Paris Officially Bans Cars Made Before 1997

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Paris has a smog problem. Most big cities do, but the situation in Paris is one of the worst in Europe. The city’s latest bid to end their smog woes is banning cars made before 1997 from entering the city center.

This isn’t the first thing the city has tried in its efforts to improve air quality. They’ve previously tried doing odd and even license plate restrictions to reduce daily traffic, even going so far as to make public transportation free for those who can’t drive on those days.

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Other measures include reducing the number of lanes in certain areas and reclaiming the old lanes for bikes and pedestrian walkways. There have even been a couple of car-free days when no one was allowed to drive in the city center.

All those fixes help temporarily, but it isn’t enough. Starting on July 1, any cars from before 1997 and motorcycles from before 2000 will be permanently banned from the city center on weekdays. If you had dreams of driving your vintage roadster through the City of Lights, make sure you plan accordingly.


This is only the first step in the city’s plans to get older more polluting vehicles off its roads. The end game is to have no cars more than 10 years old on city streets by 2020. The number of cars this old that are still on the city’s roads might not be huge, but they are the worst offenders pollution-wise and eliminating them will be a big help.

The city already banned diesel in trucks and large vehicles, so banning vehicles is becoming the go-to solution to combat pollution. The big downside is that there are no exemptions for historic cars. That idea is still being talked about, but for now, even a vintage car that you lovingly restored is not welcome in Paris.

This doesn’t mean older cars are banned forever. They can still visit the city on weekends and they can be freely driven in the country any old time. This is likely small consolation to anyone with a vintage car.

It’s also a¬†small consolation to anyone who drives an older car because they can’t afford to buy something newer. Paris runs the danger of hurting some of its poorest residents by making their sole means of transportation impossible to use. Paris has a plan to help those people and it involves only two wheels.

The city is introducing a fleet of 1,000 Cityscoot scooters that residents will be able to use by the end of the summer. That might work in the summer for some folks, but those scooters are going to be mighty cold come January.

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