It all began when we voiced our dream out loud: “imagine a car-free day in Paris!”. We took up our best pen and wrote to the Mayor, and that’s how the story began…

18 August 2014 : letter to the Mayor
We send an open letter to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, proposing a car-free day throughout Paris on 27 September 2015.

21 September 2014 : car-free events in Brussels and Montreuil
We took part in and learned from Brussels’ car-free day and a similar event in Montreuil, nearby Paris.

23 October 2014 : first meeting with the Mayor’s office
We met with Christophe Najdovski, Head of Transport, and our proposals were well recieved.

1 December 2014 : launch of Avaaz petition
Many organisations and artists expressed support for our proposals.

3 December 2014 : the Mayor agrees
The Mayor agrees in principle to our proposal, however we still had to convince the Police…

7 January 2015 : Charlie Hebdo offices are bombed
News of the bombing came while we were awaiting an official announcement to confirm the car-free day. Gradually it became clear to us that we should not give up ; in fact, our proposal took on an even greater significance in the circumstances. More than ever we were in need of bold, creative projects to help visualise and build a better future. We wrote to the Mayor emphasising this, and the project was not abandoned.

13 February 2015 : a car-free day in New York ?
Students at the Polytechnic School of Engineering of New York University got in touch with us about a project that could lead to a similar initiative in Brooklyn. Connections were also established with groups in Dakar, Marseille and Mauritania.

5 March 2015 : the Mayor tweets “Car-free day in Paris, 27 September!”
Our dialogue with the City continued into the summer. Negotiations with the police were ongoing, so it was difficult to organise citizen participation.

16 July 2015 : Police HQ release a direction for car-free day
The direction prohibited traffic in 5 discrete zones. We made it clear that this was a far cry from our ambitious project. Our car-free day was meant to be a symbolic moment ahead of the crucial COP21 climate negotiations.

August 2015 : let’s roll this out all over Paris !
We wrote to the Préfet of Paris, the French President, the French Prime Minister and other politicians calling for the project to be extended to the whole city of Paris. Residents wrote to the Mayor asking that their neighbourhood could be included. Several local authorities outside the designated area announced their participation.

27 September: now its for all of us to write this story!