Paris says tourist buses no longer welcome in city center


PARIS (Reuters) – Paris aims to ban tourist buses from the city center to spur visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport, tackling complaints about nuisances caused by mass tourism, the French capital’s deputy mayor said.

FILE PHOTO: Tourists ride in an open-air double-decker bus past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Emmanuel Gregoire told Le Parisien newspaper that the situation in Paris was not as bad as in tourist-swamped Venice or Barcelona but Parisians were concerned about the influx of tourist buses.

“We no longer want the total anarchy of tourist buses in Paris….Buses are no longer welcome in the very heart of the city,” Gregoire said.

Paris is crisscrossed by dozens of hop-on, hop-off double-decker buses that shuttle tourists between the main monuments, as well as international tourist coaches that bring in budget travelers from all over Europe.

Gregoire said the city was awaiting new legislation to reduce bus traffic and would put in place parking spots outside the city so that buses no longer drive into the center.

France’s new law on mobility will give local authorities more powers to regulate local traffic and new transport options such as rented bicycles and electric scooters.

“Tourists can do like everyone else does and switch to environmentally friendly mobility options or take public transport. We need change,” said Gregoire.

He added that tourist guides should adapt by developing guided bicycle tours, or walking tours with headphones.

Last year, tourist arrivals in Paris and the Ile-de-France region around it set a record of 50 million people, up from 48 million in 2017, despite the sometimes violent “yellow vest” protests against the government which began last November.

France is the world’s most visited country, receiving a record 89.4 million visitors last year, up from 86.9 million in 2017.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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