Guide to Driving in France

  1. Driving Offences and Penalties
  2. Importing and Registering a Vehicle
  3. Vehicle Registration Process & Transfer of Ownership
  4. Vehicle Registration Taxes
  5. MOT Vehicle Tests
  6. Obtaining a French Driving Licence
  7. Use of Vehicle Accident Forms in France
  8. Crit'Air Emissions Sticker
  9. Grants for Electric Cars
  10. Scrapping a Vehicle

8. Crit'Air Emissions Sticker

In increasing number of French towns and cities are making it a requirement for an air quality sticker to be displayed in vehicle windscreens.

The scheme is called 'Crit'Air' - Certificat qualité de l'air.

Introduced initially in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Villeurbanne and Grenoble, where within designated 'environmental zones' you need to display a window sticker (vignette). It is also in the process of being introduced in many other major cities of France. You can find a map of the locations at Zone à faibles émissions mobilité (ZFE-m).

Given the state of flux around those places where the requirement applies, and the different periods when it is operational, you might simply be best advised to obtain the sticker if you drive in French towns and cities. The validity of the sticker is of unlimited duration.

The air quality certificate imposes restrictions or grants more favourable treatment to parking and access, depending on the classification of your vehicle and the rules that apply in a particular locality. Thus, some high-polluting vehicles may not be able to circulate in some restricted areas during certain times.

In Paris the restriction affects all areas inside the city's orbital road (périphérique,) between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, although it can apply at other times. You need to display sticker if you want to drive in central Paris during those hours.

In Lyon and Grenoble there are no specific hours when the restriction is in place. Instead, it can be imposed on days where pollution is judged to be particularly high.

Cars registered before 1997, motorbikes and scooters from before June 2000 and trucks and buses from before 2001 are all excluded from the scheme, but cannot enter the zones at all when the restrictions apply.

Some metropolitan areas allow vehicles that do not regularly enter the emissions free zone to obtain a pass to enter for occasional days. You need to go to the council website to obtain the pass.

Classic cars registered as a véhicule de collection are exempt.

The stickers cost around €3 to €6 depending on the classification of the vehicle.

There are six categories of sticker, which are colour-coded according to how much vehicles pollute and range from the cleanest (Crit'Air 1), for electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles, to the most polluting (Crit'Air 6). The environmental classification can be seen at Vehicle Classification Table.

To obtain a sticker you need to visit the website Demande Crit'Air, where the process is available in the English language and for both France registered and European registered vehicles. You will need full details of your vehicle and the registration certificate.

You can also use the official simulator to find out the environmental class of your vehicle at Air Quality Simulation.

Make sure you make application several weeks in advance of your journey.

The Guides to France are published for general information only.
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