01:59 GMT +3 hours01 July 2016
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A familiy takes a selfie on the Champs-Elysees during the day without cars, in Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

Famed Champs-Elysees to Shut Down Once a Month for Pedestrians

© AP Photo/ Thibault Camus
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One of the world's most famous streets, the Champs-Elysees, in Paris, will soon be closed to traffic one day a month, allowing pedestrians to freely navigate the avenue, the city's mayor said on Wednesday.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the plan is part of a series of environmentally friendly measures planned for 2016.

The broad avenue stretches 1.2 miles (nearly 2 kilometers) from the vast Place de la Concorde square up to the Arc de Triomphe monument. It is home to 10 lanes of traffic, including tour buses lined up bumper to bumper as they drop off tourists.

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

Hidalgo said the plan to bar cars one Sunday a month would likely start in April. Also beginning in April, one in two Parisian parks would be open 24 hours a day, the mayor said.

Thousands of people strolled down the Champs Elysees on the last Sunday of September when it was closed to cars as part of a Europe-wide day-without-cars event.

Pollution has become a major problem in Paris and several other French cities, whose air periodically becomes clogged with tiny floating particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and the blood system and can cause cancer, AFP reported.

The World Health Organization says fine-particle air pollution is responsible for about 42,000 premature deaths in France each year.

Last March, French authorities briefly forced half the cars off the roads of Paris under an even-and-odd license plate scheme used during dangerously high smog episodes.

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Anne Hidalgo, France, Paris
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