Auto tourism has been around for a long while now. Since men invented the car, people have been roaming the world from the comfort of their own automobile. And we have to admit that, during the roaring twenties, it must have been quite something to cruise the relatively empty roads, maybe overlooking the ocean while riding a convertible. Nowadays, however, auto tourism isn’t quite as romantic. Often, it goes hand in hand with endless traffic jams, tons of air pollution and a never-ending parking problem.
Of course we’re not saying you can’t take your car to go on holiday. Especially during a pandemic, it might even be the safest way to travel. But it’s probably worth considering not driving through an already crowded city center. And it’s definitely a good idea not to explore your destination by car whenever there are other options available. Just put your car in the parking of your hotel, step outside and enjoy the local vibe. Maybe rent some bicycles, maybe go for a walk, maybe take public transportation or a cab. That’s not only better for the place you’re exploring but it also allows you to spot places you would just drive by by car – and to drink that local wine or beer without worrying.
1. Seven arrondissements
In many cities, whether or not you take our advice by heart is totally up to you. But some municipalities are taking things into their own hands by preventing tourists from entering by car. The latest city taking some drastic measures is Paris. By 2022, the French capital wants to ban all through traffic from the center. A measure which concerns about 55% of cars currently driving through – in other words, some 100.000 cars a day. The first seven arrondissements of Paris will be a traffic-calmed zone: Louvre, Bourse, Temple, Hôtel-de-Ville, Panthéon, Luxembourg and Palais-Bourbon.
Parisians themselves, however, don’t need to worry. The measures are specifically aimed at tourists and through traffic, meaning people living in the different arrondissements can still drive their car to their front door. Same goes for public transportation and delivery vehicles. Apparently, there will also be an exception for disabled people and hotel guests checking in for a short-term stay in one of the arrondissements, allowing them to enter the traffic-calmed zone. The city council still has to consult the Parisians themselves though, so the measures aren’t definitive just yet.