The pandemic, coupled with numerous pre-lockdown public transport strikes, has only heightened the popularity of these human-centered and environmentally sustainable initiatives. “The beauty of getting around Paris on foot has come into more prominence since Covid,” said Kathleen Peddicord, founder of Live and Invest Overseas. “Public transport was banned for a long time and was also more uncomfortable having to wear masks. So more and more people started using their feet.”
Additional cycle paths have also been created to reduce car traffic. In fact, the city plans to add an additional 180 km of bike lanes and 180,000 bicycle parking spaces by 2026.
“I have lived in Paris for 14 years, and I can say with confidence that I have never seen a greater city-wide transformation than the one that has happened most recently to encourage cyclists,” said said Sadie Sumner, who runs the Paris branch. of the bicycle touring company Fat Tire Tours.
Major thoroughfares like Rue de Rivoli in central Paris have been reduced to one lane, while cycle paths have been widened to the width of three automobile lanes.
The city also plans to plant 170,000 trees by 2026, with the intention of refreshing Paris to make it more comfortable and pleasant for pedestrians. In anticipation of the city hosting the 2024 Olympic Games, the bridge between the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero will also be entirely pedestrian.
Overall, residents have appreciated the widespread changes and are looking forward to even more. “The locals really like it, there are fewer cars and people seem to be a bit more relaxed,” said Paris-native Roobens Fils, who blogs at Been Around the Globe. He had some suggestions for travelers with a walking spirit: Parc Rives de Seine, a 7 km long stretch by the river; rue Montorgueuil in the heart of Paris for its cheese shops, wines and florists; rue Saint Rustique in Montmartre for its old cobblestones (it is the oldest street in Paris); and Cour Saint Emilion for its shops, cafes and restaurants.