Paris to close Champs Elysees to cars one Sunday a month

General view of the Champs Elysees Avenue as rush hour traffic fills the avenue leading up to the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, December 28, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris’ Champs Elysees avenue will be closed to cars one Sunday a month to let pedestrians reign supreme, the mayor of the French capital announced on Wednesday.

Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo said her plans for the elegant boulevard, a focal point of the city often used for national ceremonies, was one of a series of environmentally friendly measures planned for 2016.

Other plans include permanent pedestrianization, starting in summer, for a stretch of high-traffic road bordering the Seine’s right bank.

Thousands of Parisians strolled down the nearly two-kilometer (1.2-mile) Champs Elysees on the last Sunday of September when it was closed to cars as part of a Europe-wide day-without-cars event.

Hidalgo said that all of Paris would be closed to cars when the event is held again this year.

Lined with museums, theaters and luxury shops, the 10-lane Champs Elysees is a major tourist draw in one of the world’s most visited cities.

It is also a major east-west thoroughfare for one of the swankiest neighborhoods, running from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Ruth Pitchford