Breathless in Paris

Breathless movie poster

While getting ready for a family trip this spring I came across the headline, Paris Briefly Tops World Charts for Air Pollution. Yikes! This is not the sort of news you want to read about your vacation destination. Fortunately, car restrictions and breezy weather helped to clear the air before we arrived. We loved Paris in the springtime with both blue and gray skies and even a little drizzle.

The "City of Light" has had a spring-time inversion, trapping diesel exhaust over Paris. Easily half of the vehicles that I saw in Paris had that familiar diesel clatter and two-stroke (also polluting) scooters and motorcycles continually buzz past. Diesel motors, while efficient, leave a haze of particulate matter which has both short and long-term health impacts. So, cutting by half the number of cars on Paris streets made the air a bit healthier. But, vehicle restrictions might not be a long-term solution.

Admittedly, we've been spoiled by living in Santa Fe, with some of the best air quality in the United States. While we don't have the Eiffel tower to look out from, the view from our nearby mountains is impressive. With that said, I'll stop measuring Paris against Santa Fe as it's a pommes to naranjas comparison.

More Info:

Paris briefly tops world charts for air pollution

Western Europe's Mild March Has Led to an Air Quality Crisis in France

Paris imposes car restrictions to fight pollution

Diesel Exhaust

Air Pollution in Paris: Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map

Santa Fe Airport, New Mexico Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)

American Lung Association - State of the Air Report 2014

YouTube - I Love Paris in the Springtime - Ella Fitzgerald