It's as though the Paris-Lille motorway is running through their living room. Every night when 100,000 Parisians go to bed they are exposed to pollution comparable to that seen by the side of the main highway through the city. It's a chilling fact, emerging from new research into air quality on the streets.
But in terms of pollution and quality of life, it's unwise to form any hasty conclusions. We breathe a lot easier in Paris today than we did in the 1950s, when our rooms were heated by burning coal and one car produced as much pollution as 20 do today.
Paris has one of the highest car densities in Europe. Georges Pompidou said: 'We must adapt the town for the car. Chirac said: 'Paris wants to drive, let's make it happen.' The tone changed only after 1995.