For some, the image of a classic Citroën DS passing along the Champs-Élysées couldn't be much more French if a man in a stripy top and beret walked past swinging a chain of onions.

But soon, that image could be shattered as Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe is set to introduce plans that ban all pre-1997 cars from the city's streets, to curb pollution.

The plans have angered classic car fans, whose vehicles make up only 3 percent of the vehicles on Parisian roads--around 365,000 cars, according to Reuters.

It would take some of France's most distinctive vehicles off the streets, including iconic vehicles like the aforementioned Citroën DS, the 2CV, the Peugeot 205 GTI hot hatchback and the dependable Renault 4L--among dozens of others.

Others complain that it would prevent those who are simply unable to afford anything newer from driving around the city.

In 2010, Paris trialled a ban of gas-guzzling off-road vehicles from its streets.

The latest scheme has been described as "another hairbrained idea" to please ecologists and wealthy Parisians, by Claude Fauconnier, vice-president of the French Friends of the 2CV Club.

The mayor, whose previous initiatives have included Paris's bike-sharing scheme, Velib' (partner scheme of the Autolib' electric car sharing service), has been previously accused of turning the capital into a "playground for the rich".

Delanoe defends the move, which he says "is for our citizens - it's a public health battle and we've been fighting since 2001 to try and make the air here more breathable."

Several other cities around the world have introduced similar initiatives in recent years. The Emirate of Dubai has banned all cars older than 20 years from its roads to reduce pollution, while cars driving into the German city of Frankfurt have to meet a minimum European emissions standard.

If the Parisian proposal gains ministerial approval in January, it will come into force from 2014.

Will banning France's iconic classics from the capital city be the answer to Paris pollution? Or is the move simply a token gesture which will make things difficult for ordinary citizens?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Hat tip: Kurt Ernst]


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