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50km of French motorways closed...for a party

Inaugural Fête de l'Autoroute sees French motorways open to cycling, walking, concerts, eating, acrobatics...

Today people will be able to cycle, run, sunbathe, fly in a hot air balloon and listen to concerts on French main roads and motorways which have been closed for the country’s first Fête de l'Autoroute.

Today, Sunday May 22 2016, 50km of French motorways are closed to motor traffic for the first “Day of the Highway”. One triathlon event will feature a 19.3km cycle on the A51 motorway.

French motorway operators have asked people to leave behind their cars for the day, and enjoy anything from a stroll, or casual bike ride to a free hot air balloon ride, concerts and acrobatics, and food, to deckchairs, laid out in hope of fair weather. In total 15 sections of motorway are closed to motor traffic today, chosen for their proximity to urban centres and affording minimal disruption to motorists, according to motorway operators. The roads will re-open at 4pm.

It looks like there’s a massive bike jump somewhere on the closed motorways, too:

Motorways open to the (non-driving) public today include: - The A4 near Reims - The A89 and A466 to Lyon - The A411 in Gaillard - The A51 North - The A51 towards Gap - The A8 to Nice - The Tunel Prado Sud, - The Millau Viaduct - The A61 in Port-Lauragais area - The A63 to Lesperon - The A89 near Brive-la-Gaillarde - The A85 - The Duplex A86 - The A5b near Melun. The motorway closures come at a time when fuel shortages caused by strikes have closed 1,500 of the country’s 12,000 fuel stations.

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