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France Environmental Zones

Environmental zones

What about environmental zones in France, and in which cities do you need an environmental sticker? Below it is explained in detail!

Environmental zones

Environmental sticker

  • French cities and departments can set up an environmental zone under new legislation (Crit’Air). If an environmental zone is set up, you may only enter with a valid environmental sticker. There are two types of environmental zones:
    • Permanent environmental zone
    • Temporary environmental zone
  • There are stickers in six categories: 0 (green), 1 (purple), 2 (yellow), 3 (orange), 4 (red) and 5 (gray). The category is determined by the type of vehicle (car, motorcycle, moped etc.), the degree of CO2 emissions (Euronorm) and the age of the vehicle. The green sticker is for the cleanest vehicles (electric or hydrogen), for these vehicles there are no restrictive environmental measures.
  • The sticker is in French officially referred to as certificat qualité de l’air, but is also called CQA or vignette Crit’Air.
  • The most polluting vehicles, including passenger cars registered before 1 January 1997 and motorcycles from before 1 June 2000, will not receive a sticker. For a complete overview of the classification see certificatair.gouv.fr/docs/tableaux_classement.pdf.
  • A sticker is valid throughout France, but the restrictions that apply to a sticker may differ per city.
  • The rules also apply to vehicles with a foreign license plate.
  • Violation of laws and regulations (such as no valid sticker, sticker not affixed in the right place, sticker not legible) can lead to a driving ban for the vehicle and a fine of € 68 for payment within 45 days (or possibly € 45 with immediate payment on the spot) and can go up to € 450.
  • Recommendation: are you going to France and your vehicle is eligible for a certificate qualité de l’air, order one in advance; it only cost less than 5 euros, so why take the risk.
  • Information on the environmental stickers in French, English, German, Spanish and Italian can be found at certificat-air.gouv.fr.

Permanent environmental zone

  • You may only enter a permanent environmental zone (Zone à Circulation Restreinte, ZCR) with a valid environmental sticker (vignette Crit’Air). For example: at the inner city of Paris.
  • A permanent zone applies throughout the year, but can be limited to, for example, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm. Outside these hours also vehicles without sticker have access to an environmental zone, unless a temporary environmental zone has been set up. See also the more detailed information about Paris below.
  • The beginning and end of a permanent environmental zone is indicated by traffic signs.

Temporary environmental zone

  • In a temporary environmental zone (Zone de protection de l’air, ZPA) you only need a valid environmental sticker in case of (long-term) extreme air pollution (pic de pollution).
  • If there is no extreme air pollution, you can enter this environmental zone without a sticker.
  • The announcement of a temporary environmental zone is done via matrix signs above the road, radio, television, internet and the weather forecast.
  • Information on air quality per region can be found here.

Exemption for disabled drivers

  • The environmental measures in the environmental zones do not apply to vehicles belonging to disabled persons in possession of a European disabled parking card.
  • Note: The vehicle must be equipped with the correct vignette Crit’Air. If the vehicle is not eligible for a sticker, for example because it is from before 1997, it will still be allowed in an environmental zone.
  • The disabled parking card must be clearly visible behind the windscreen.
  • If someone else uses the vehicle in the absence of the owner of the disabled parking card, any environmental measures will apply.

Exemption for oldtimers

  • Exemptions can only be obtained for vehicles registered in France for at least 30 years with the note on the vehicle registration certificate véhicule de collection. Vehicles registered abroad are not eligible for exemption.

Rental car

  • Rented cars are often provided with an environmental sticker, but rental cars registered in another country usually do not. Inform at the car rental station in time.

Where can I buy an environmental sticker?

  • The Crit’Air vignette can be ordered via the official website certificat-air.gouv.fr, only online. Ordering by mail is not possible.
  • The environmental sticker costs € 4.21 excluding shipping to your home address.
  • The sticker must be affixed to the lower right-hand side of the windshield on the inside and will last the entire life of the vehicle; there is therefore no need to buy a new sticker every year.
  • Pay attention to:
    • Order the sticker on time, the delivery time can be about 10 working days. A confirmation of the order will be sent by e-mail within 4 hours. Then the invoice will follow by e-mail within about 24 hours. The invoice contains an image of the certificat qualité de l’air and can be used temporarily as evidence in case of a police check. The delivery can be followed online by clicking on ‘Tracking my application’ or ‘Suivre ma demande‘.
    • In addition to the official French website, there are also other websites where the sticker is available, but pay close attention to the price (sometimes dozens of euros instead of € 4.21) and to the general conditions (eg. they take no responsibility or liability if the sticker (after ordering) does not arrive (on time).

    Tips for filling in the application

    • Go to certificat-air.gouv.fr and choose the English language at the top right.
    • Order the environmental sticker via the ‘Applying for your certificate’ symbol and the ‘Vehicles Registered Abroad’ option. Accept the options to continue.
    • Enter the vehicle data via ‘Add a vehicle’. The capital letter with or without a digit is the field code (champ) on the registration certificate; English / French translation:
      • A: Registration number / N ° d’immatriculation
      • B: Date of first registration or admission / Date the premiere immatriculation
      • J: Vehicle category / Catégorie de véhicule
      • P.3: Type of fuel / Carburant
        • Diesel / Diesel (gazole)
        • Gasoline or Petrol / Essence
        • Electric / Electrique
        • Natural gas / Gaz natural
        • Hydrogen / Hydrogene
        • Liquefied Petroleum Gas or Autogas LPG / Gaz de pétrole liquifié GPL
        • E85 / Superethanol
      • Certificate (license plate) issuing country / Pays d’immatriculation
      • E: Vehicle chassis identification number / N ° the series
      • D.1: Brand / Marque
      • D.3: Commercial designation of the model / Nom commercial du modèle
      • V.9: Indication of the environmental category / Norme Euro
      • V.7: CO2 (in g / km) / Emission de CO2
    • It is mandatory to send a photocopy of the registration certificate in format pdf, jpg or png. Sometimes the photo has to be set to a lower quality, so that the file is not too heavy to upload (not larger than 400 kB).
    • First enter the house number at the address and then the street name.
    • You can only pay with a credit card. Payment by bank card or bank transfers is not possible.
    • Via certificat-air.gouv.fr you can follow the order:
      • select the ‘Tracking my application’ or ‘Suivre ma commande‘ symbol,
      • select ‘Country of registration’ or ‘Pays d’immatriculation‘ for ‘Abroad’ or ‘Etranger‘,
      • fill in the registration number of the vehicle with ‘Registration number’ or ‘Immatriculation‘,
      • tick ‘I am not a robot’,
      • and click on ‘Find’ or ‘Rechercher’.

Hereunder we provide more detailed information on environmental zones of several cities and regions in France.

Environmental zone Paris

  • The entire center of Paris has been designated as permanent environmental zone (ZCR). On weekdays between 8 am and 8 pm, only vehicles with a category 0 to 4 sticker (the gray sticker is not allowed) are allowed to drive in the zone. This measure also applies to vehicles with a foreign registration number.
  • The environmental zone concerns the area within the ring road, the boulevard périphérique. The ring road itself does not belong to the permanent environmental zone.

Temporary environmental zone Paris

  • In extreme air pollution (smog), temporarily more stringent measures are taken in Paris. The driving ban in the center can then apply to more categories of stickers.
  • The driving ban can therefore be extended to the outer ring, the superpériphérique (A86). Note: The inner ring, the boulevard périphérique, falls in that case also within the environmental zone, the outer ring A86 itself not.
  • The temporary measures are indicated with signs.
Annecy

Environmental zone Annecy

  • In Annecy and surroundings (zone urbaine des Pays de Savoie consisting of the Communauté d’Agglomération du Grand Annecy, the Communauté de Communes du Canton de Rumilly and the Communauté de Communes des Sources du Lac d’Annecy) a temporary environmental zone (ZPA) applies. In the event of persistent extreme air pollution, vehicles with a maximum permitted mass of more than 3500 kg without a valid environmental sticker may not enter the entire zone.
  • The three communities (communautés) can each individually decide to impose the ban on vehicles with a maximum permitted mass up to and including 3500 kg without an environmental sticker.
  • If air pollution lasts longer than two days, vehicles up to 3500 kg with a red or gray environmental sticker are no longer allowed on the road.
  • More information can be found at haute-savoie.gouv.fr and annecy.fr/921-zone-de-circulation-restreinte.htm (only in French).
  • For information on air quality in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, see atmo-auvergnerhonealpes.fr (only in French).
Chambéry

Environmental zone Chambéry

  • In Chambéry (in the department of Savoie) there is a temporary environmental zone (ZPA): in the event of persistent extreme air pollution, vehicles without a valid environmental sticker may not enter the zone. The size of the zone is determined by a police regulation and depends on the extent and duration of the air pollution.
  • If air pollution lasts longer than two days, then vehicles with a maximum permissible mass of up to 3500 kg with a red or gray environmental sticker are no longer allowed on the road.
  • More information can be found at grandchambery.fr (only in French).
  • For information on air quality in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, see atmo-auvergnerhonealpes.fr (only in French).
Drôme (department)

Environmental zone Drôme (department)

  • In the department of Drôme (including the cities of Valence and Nyons) a temporary environmental zone (ZPA) applies: in the event of persistent extreme air pollution, the environmental sticker is mandatory.
  • After two days only vehicles with a green, purple, yellow or orange environmental sticker may drive. If the extreme air pollution persists for a long time, even more categories can fall under the driving ban.
  • The environmental zone can cover the entire Drôme department or part of it.
  • More information can be found at drome.gouv.fr/qualite-de-l-air-r1668.html (only in French).
  • For information on air quality in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, see atmo-auvergnerhonealpes.fr (only in French).

Note: the A7 (autoroute du Soleil) runs through Drôme and can also belong to the temporary environmental zone in case of extreme air pollution.

Isère (department) and Grenoble

Environmental zone Isère (department) and Grenoble

  • In the department of Isère (including Grenoble and the surrounding area, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole or Métropole grenobloise), there is a temporary environmental zone (ZPA): in case of persistent extreme air pollution, the environmental sticker is mandatory on all roads and highways of Isère or parts of it, for example in the metropolis Grenoble.
  • The metropolis of Grenoble includes 49 municipalities, see the site of the metropolis lametro.fr/11-49-communes.htm.
  • The first two days only vehicles with an environmental sticker are allowed on the road. After two days, vehicles with a red or gray sticker are no longer allowed. In the case of very extreme air pollution, the measure can also apply to vehicles with an orange, yellow or purple environmental sticker: the more serious the air pollution, the more color environmental stickers fall under the measure.
  • Furthermore, within the city limits of Grenoble, there is a permanent general prohibition for all old transport vehicles (intended for freight transport) registered before 1 October 1997 and trucks from before 1 October 2001, see the site of the metropolis lametro.fr/53-je-suis -un-pro.htm.
  • For detailed information, see the site of the municipality of grenoble.fr/938-certificat-qualite-de-l-air.htm and grenoble.fr/953-faq-zone-de-circulation-restreinte.htm (only in French).
  • For information on air quality in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, see atmo-auvergnerhonealpes.fr (only in French).
Lille

Environmental zone Lille

  • A temporary environmental zone (ZPA) applies in Lille and surroundings: in the case of persistent extreme air pollution, only vehicles with an environmental sticker may enter the zone.
    The zone includes the (sub) municipalities of Lille (Lille), Hellemmes, La Madeleine (Berkem), Lambersart (Landbertsrode), Lezennes, Lomme, Marcq-en-Baroeul (Marke), Marquette-lez-Lille (Markette), Mons- en-Barœul, Ronchin, Saint-André-lez-Lille (Saint-Andries-Lille) and Sequedin.
  • A few main roads are excluded, see the map on the Métropole européenne de Lille (MEL) site lillemetropole.fr/files/live/sites/lmcu/files/docs/Carte_circulation_différenciée_périmètre.pdf.
  • In time, the zone can be extended to all 90 municipalities of the MEL.
Lyon

Environmental zone Lyon

  • The complete city of Lyon, including suburb Villeurbanne, applies in the event of extreme air pollution as a temporary environmental zone (ZPA).
  • On those days, restrictions on traffic may be imposed in the environmental zone. The restrictions are announced on (electronic) signs and in the local media.
  • There are three levels of traffic restrictions, depending on the degree of air pollution:
    • level 1: reduction of the maximum speed by 20 km / h on roads with a higher maximum speed than 70 km / h, after one day of air pollution with 50 g / m3 of dust particles; the maximum speed is not reduced to less than 70 km / h;
    • level 2: only vehicles with a vignette Crit’Air are allowed on the road, after two days of air pollution with 80 g / m3 dust particles or four days with 50 g / m3 dust particles;
    • level 2 aggravé: only vehicles with a vignette Crit’Air 0, 1, 2 or 3 (green, purple, yellow or orange) are allowed on the road, after two days level 2.
  • The through routes, motorways A6 / A7 (Autoroute du soleil), the A42 and some important supply and connecting roads, fall outside the environmental zone. No restrictions apply here and no sticker is required.
  • For information on air quality in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, see atmo-auvergnerhonealpes.fr (only in French).
Rennes

Environmental zone Rennes

  • In Rennes and surroundings (Métropole de Rennes), there will be a temporary environmental zone (ZPA) with effect from 1 October 2018: in case of persistent extreme air pollution, only vehicles with green, purple, yellow or orange environmental stickers may enter the road.
    The zone does not include the entire metropolis, but only concerns the area within the ring of Rennes (rocade de Rennes, N136).
  • For more information see the sites of the metropolis.rennes.fr/actualites/education-vie-sociale-sante/sante/pics-de-pollution-demandez-votre-vignette-crit-air-pensez-au-pass-transports and from the Ille-et-Vilaine department ille-et-vilaine.gouv.fr/Actualites/Espace-presse/2018/Qualite-de-l-air (both in French).
Strasbourg

Environmental zone Strasbourg

  • In Strasbourg and surroundings (Eurométropole de Strasbourg) there is a temporary environmental zone (ZPA): in case of persistent extreme air pollution, only vehicles with a Crit’Air vignette of category 0 to 4 may enter the Eurometropolis. Vehicles without a sticker or with a red or gray sticker may not drive.
  • The eurometropole Strasbourg comprises 33 municipalities, see the site of the eurometropole strasbourg.eu/communes.
  • The A4 and A35 pass through the metropole and belong to the temporary environmental zone.
  • For more information, see the site of the eurometropole strasbourg.eu/episodes-pollution-certificat-critair, the site of the department Bas-Rhin bas-rhin.gouv.fr/Actualites/Sante/Crit-Air-tout-savoir -sur-la-circulation-differenciee-lors-des-pics-de-pollution (both in French) and the brochure in English en.strasbourg.eu/uploads/Actualites/Livret-crit-air-EN-201802. pdf.
  • If you want to be informed by e-mail or text message about the traffic-restricting measures in the metropolis, you can register via demarches.strasbourg.eu/masques/atmospheric-pollution, see for more information en.strasbourg.eu/en/transport-and-environment/air-alert-system.
Toulouse

Environmental zone Toulouse

  • In Toulouse and Haute-Garonne there is a temporary environmental zone (ZPA): in the case of persistent extreme air pollution, only vehicles with an environmental sticker may enter the zone.
  • On those days, restrictions on traffic may be imposed in the environmental zone. The restrictions are announced on (electronic) signs and in the local media. The zone falls within the périphérique (bypass) of Toulouse, which is formed by the motorways A61, A62 and A620 (see the map on haute-garonne.gouv.fr).
  • The measures may further consist of a speed limit of 20 km / h for all vehicles on roads where usually 130, 110 or 90 km / h may be driven, up to resp. 110, 90 and 70 km / h (reduction vitesse de 20 km / h) throughout the Haute-Garonne department.
  • For detailed information, see the site of the department haute-garonne.gouv.fr/Politiques-publiques/Environnement-eau-risques-naturels-et-technologiques/Qualite-de-l-air/Qualite-de-l-air-et -gestion-des-pics-de-pollution (only in French).
Other regions

Other environmental regions

There are concrete plans to introduce environmental zones in places such as Annemasse, Arras, Avignon, Bordeaux, Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, Côte Basque-Adour, Dijon, Dunkirk, Épernay, Faucigny-Glières-Bonneville, Le Havre, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint -Étienne and Vallée de la Marne.

Écotaxe (trucks)

An écotaxe is levied in some French departments, but this only applies to freight transport.