Thousands of cars will be banned from Parisian roads as the city tries to curb dangerous pollution levels by introducing alternate driving days.
The radical move will see around 700 police officers deployed to staff 60 checkpoints around the French capital on Monday to ensure that only cars with number plates ending in odd numbers are on the streets.
Parking will be free on Monday for vehicles with even number plates, the Paris city hall said, calling on residents to car pool.
The restrictions will come into force across Paris and 22 surrounding areas from 5.30am (1530 AEDT).
They will be reviewed on a daily basis, with odd numbers potentially banned on Tuesday if an extension is deemed necessary.
Electric and hybrid cars will be exempted from the ban as well as any vehicle carrying three people or more.
It is the first time since 1997 that the French authorities have resorted to such a drastic measure.
The government made the announcement on Saturday after pollution particulates in the air exceeded safe levels for five straight days in Paris and its environs.
So-called PM10 particulates are created by vehicles, heating and heavy industry, with the safe limit set at 80 per cubic metre.
All public transport was free over the weekend to persuade residents to leave their cars at home. It will remain free as long as the alternate driving days remain in force.
France’s Automobile Club Association (ACA), which counts some 760,000 members, denounced the move as “hasty, ineffective” and “bound to lead to chaos”.
The smoggy conditions have been caused by a combination of cold nights and warm days, which have prevented pollution from dispersing.
The pollution particulates in the air can cause asthma attacks as well as respiratory and heart problems.
The World Health Organisation has said finer particulates – known as PM2.5 – are cancer-causing.