Anti-pollution stickers are now required for all British-registered vehicles driving in Paris. Find out how they work, how to get one and how they affect your plans to drive cars, motorhomes and other vehicles in in the French capital.
British drivers heading to Paris now have to display an anti-pollution sticker in their vehicle – with petrol cars, vans and motorhomes first-registered before 1997 and diesels prior to 2001 banned from the French capital’s streets between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday.
The sticker scheme became mandatory from Monday, January 16, 2017, demanding all motorists entering the city should display a sticker defining how polluting their car is. We’ve all the information you need here.
Revealed: More Crit’Air schemes coming to French cities this year
Brit drivers are being warned that more French towns and cities will require a Crit’Air anti-pollution sticker to be displayed by the end of 2017.
With versions of the Crit’Air scheme already up and running in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble, it’s been revealed motorists heading to Lille will also need to display one of the anti-pollution stickers within just a few weeks.
Additionally, Bordeaux and Strasbourg will also be introducing Crit’Air-led schemes by the end of the year. Both of these are popular destinations with British motorists touring France.
The stickers for all destinations must be applied for well in advance of travel dates, with failure to display one likely to result in a hefty fine.
Read on for our full guide to obtaining a Crit’Air sticker and understanding how the various schemes operate.
URGENT UPDATE JULY 2017 CHANGES: More cars to be BANNED from driving in Paris from July 1, 2017 – find out if yours is one of them
From July 1, 2017, any diesel first-registered before January 1, 2001, will be barred from Paris during weekdays. Here’s all you need to know about the new tightening of restrictions…
What is a Crit’Air sticker? These are official vignettes – or stickers – that drivers must display on their windscreen to show how polluting their vehicle is. There are six stickers, from the 100 per cent pure-electric sticker, to the number 5 for Euro 2 diesel-engine cars registered from January 1, 1997 – December 31, 2000.
What is the change? Prior to July 1, 2017, vehicles with a Crit’Air 5 sticker could still drive in Paris during weekdays, while older, dirtier cars were banned Monday – Friday between the hours of 8am-8pm. This ban will now also apply to cars with a Crit’Air 5 sticker from July 1, 2017.
What does that mean in plain English? Put simply, if you have a Euro 2 diesel car registered before January 1, 2001, you will not be able to drive it in Paris on weekdays between the hours of 8am-8pm. Prior to July 1, 2017, you would have been able to.
How do I get my Crit’Air sticker? Read the rest of this feature for all you need to know about getting a legitimate sticker.
Please remember to share with friends who might be travelling through Paris this summer.
WARNING: LOOK OUT FOR PREMIUM RATE CALLS FOR CRIT AIR ANSWERS
It’s been reported in French media that drivers looking for information on the Crit’Air stickers are being urged to ring 118 118. This is charged from €2.99 per minute (around £2.50) in France. Use the official number for information on +33 800 970 033 from the UK, or 0 80097 00 33 from France or email here.
How and where to buy a Crit’Air anti-pollution sticker
Romantic drive in Paris? Don’t forget to get stickered
You will now need to purchase a Crit’Air sticker to drive any vehicle in Paris, emergency vehicles aside.
A sticker relates to the vehicle and not the the driver, so each vehicle must have its own sticker – which last for its entire life under current law.
The sticker will cost €4.18 (around £3.60) for drivers of foreign-registered vehicles
You will also need to upload a scan or your registration document at the time of application. Applications can take several weeks to be processed, so please allow plenty of time before your trip.
Read the following guide help with your application…
Please note, when uploading a copy of your registration document, the file size has now been increased from 200KB to 400KB, which will make it easier for scanning. This remains a relatively small size, so please remember to use photo editing software to optimise the file before attempting to upload. Photoshop and Paint are among the premium and free options available. Instant online optimiser sites are also available – such as imageoptimizer.net. Please note, we are not responsible for external sites.
How long will the Crit’Air sticker take to arrive?
Expect the sticker to take up to 30 days, but many users have reported it coming through within a week. A confirmation email should arrive within two weeks with a slip that can be printed to prove the vehicle is covered.
Can I track my Crit’Air application?
Yes. Enter your details using the following link to track the progress of your sticker.
All you need to know about driving in Paris from January 16, 2017
Here’s our at-a-glance guide to Paris’ Crit’Air anti-pollution vehicle stickers.
British-registered vehicles will need one of these Crit’Air stickers to drive in Paris from March 31
What is the change?
All non-emergency vehicles need to display one of six stickers to show how polluting they are.
What are the Crit’Air stickers for?
The six stickers allow officials to ban certain vehicles – based on Crit’Air ratings – from entering the city at times of high pollution.
Is this a totally new system?
No. The stickers are new but will support a policy launched in 2015, where all, or selected, vehicles can be banned from the Paris when pollution levels spike. The new stickers will simplify this for drivers – and those enforcing the bans – with a vehicle’s status clearly visible on the windscreen. This replaces the odd-even number plate scheme that was previously in operation.
Where does the ‘Crit’Air’ pollution zone apply in Paris?
The whole of Paris includes the Crit’Air environmental zone. The city area of Paris is defined without suburbs and includes the area inside the city’s ring road – the “Boulevard périphérique”. This is not an official motorway and is described as ‘E15’ in the Eastern part of Paris, ‘Bois de Boulogne’ in the Western part of Paris and ‘Bois de Vincennes’ in the South east part of the city. Click below to see a map.
Here’s where the Crit’Air restrictions apply in Paris
If you’re driving within the Paris ringroad, then you will need a Crit Air sticker. This will need to be at least a Crit Air 4 to drive in the zone on weekdays from 8am-8pm.
The Crt’Air zone covers most of Paris and all areas inside the city’s ring road
Do I need a Crit’Air anti-pollution sticker for the Paris Ring Road (Boulevard Périphérique)
It’s the road that thousands of Brits will use as they motor to the south of France or Alpine ski resorts, but the good news is you WON’T need to buy a Crit’Air anti-pollution sticker to use it.
However, some sat-nav devices may lead drivers to the 18km tunnel that runs beneath the city. Accessing this will need a sticker, so make sure your sat-nav is taking you on the Ring Road, or Boulevard Périphérique, as it is officially known.
Do I need a Crit’Air to drive in France?
No. The Crit’Air pollution stickers work in a similar way to the London Congestion Charge. You will only need to buy and display a sticker if you are planning to drive in Paris – or the cities of Grenoble and Lyon. If not – there’s no need to worry. However, keep an eye out for more cities joining the scheme soon.
When do foreign-registered vehicles need to get their stickers by?
The sticker system came into force for non-French-registered vehicles on March 31, 2017.
How much does the Crit’Air sticker cost?
The sticker will cost €4.18 (around £3.60) for drivers of foreign-registered vehicles.
How often do I need to renew the sticker?
All Crit’Air stickers are valid for the lifetime of the vehicle, so you will never need to buy a new one for any individual car (as the law currently stands).
Where should I put the sticker?
Official advice says the sticker must be placed in the lower right hand corner of the windscreen.
The French authorities are very clear on this, and failing to stick your Crit’Air vignette in the correct place could leave you open to a fine.
Does the sticker apply to the car or the driver?
The Crit’Air is linked to the vehicle and not the driver. You’ll need one for each car you intend to drive in Paris, Lyon or Grenoble.
What signs show where the stickers apply when driving in Paris?
Look out for the signs pictured below. The red version shows where a zone starts and the other where it ends. It’s likely the signage will include another ‘Interdite’ sign, which will give more specific information on the Crit’Air restrictions that apply.
The red signs show where the Crit’Air zone starts and the black ones where it ends
If my car is restricted, do I need to leave the city?
No, the restrictions apply to travel. As long as you have a Crit’Air sticker, you can leave the vehicle parked in the city during periods its use is restricted due to high levels of pollution.
I have a pre-1996 petrol car and pre-2001 diesel car. Can I drive it in Paris?
Cars registered prior to 1996 will not get a sticker. This means you will not be able drive the vehicle in the city’s Crit’Air zones between 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday. Additionally, from July 1, 2017, any Euro 2 diesel car registered before January 1, 2001, will also be banned from the city’s streets 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday. This is because Crit’Air 5 vehicles have been barred under new, tighter restrictions – see more details here.
More restrictions for diesel cars coming in the summer?
As we’ve pointed out above, from July 1, 2017, all cars will need to hold at least a Crit’Air 4 sticker! This means – along with older petrol and diesel cars that didn’t get a sticker in the first wave – diesel cars registered before January 1, 2001, will also be banned from entering the city 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday.
Will disabled drivers need a sticker?
The official Crit’Air website says: ‘As per French decree Décret n°2016-847 from 28th June 2016 vehicles bearing a parking card for disabled persons need no Crit’Air Vignette. Parking cards for disabled persons are the same all over Europe so that vehicles of handicapped persons are recognisable abroad, too.’
What is the fine for driving without a Crit’Air sticker in Paris?
French police have been told to be lenient in the early days, but this will be for a short time only.
Fines for those without stickers are:
€68 (£58.63) for cars
€138 (£119) for lorries.
Can I watch a French-language video on the Crit’Air scheme?
Yes – yes you can.Click below and enjoy!
Yes. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is no fan of cars and has made it clear she’ll be making life difficult for drivers.
Speaking to journalists, she said: “More cars means more pollution, fewer cars means less pollution. It seems obvious but in this post-truth age there are those who would argue that fewer cars means more pollution. We prefer to stick to the truth.”
She has spoken of eventually banning all diesel motors from the city’s streets.
Any other cities using the stickers?
The French cities of Grenoble and Lyon are also operating a form of Crit’Air sticker.
Here’s how the Crit Air anti-pollution scheme works in Paris
Hire cars and Crit’Air stickers – motorists face big fines
With thousands of Brits heading over (or under) the Channel in hire cars, motorists could be left open to fines and big admin charges imposed by rental firms if the anti-pollution stickers aren’t purchased and displayed.
What’s the problem? With Crit’Air sticker relating to the vehicle and not the driver, anyone heading in Paris will have to rely on the hire car having a sticker purchased by the rental firm.
This could not be undertaken by the ‘hirer’ because the registration number and registration document are required to purchase one.
Who’ll pay the fine? As with any other unpaid fines incurred by the ‘hirer’, rental firms will typically take the fine and a hefty admin charge from the driver’s credit card.
It’s unclear if this would still be the case legally if the rental firm had been aware of the driver’s intentions to enter Paris, but neglected to purchase a valid Crit’Air sticker for the vehicle.
How much is the fine and admin charge? The fine for not having a Crit’Air sticker is €68 (£58.63) for cars, and with rental firms charging anything from £45 admin charges for paying penalty charges, drivers could expect a bill in excess of £100 through no fault of their own.
What the hire firms say: Posing as a customer, we phoned one of the UK’s leading hire firms and explained that we wanted to hire a car in England, then drive to Paris after the March 31 deadline.
When asked how to deal with the Crit’Air issue, we were told to ‘pop in to the Paris branch [of the hire firm] and pick one up.’ However, with ‘sticker’ applications for foreign cars required to be made online and accompanied by a copy of the vehicle’s registration document, this is unlikely to be a solution.
We’ve contacted several rental firms – along with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) the trade body for rental car firms – but have not yet received any comment on how the Crit’Air problem will be tackled.
Avis has since told us it will be holding a meeting next week (w/c 27/03/17) to discuss the issue – the same week as the law comes into effect for British drivers heading to Paris.
What should you do: Make sure you tell your rental firm as early as possible that you intend to drive in Paris. Make it clear you expect the car to be legal and that any fines will not be your responsibility. We’ll update this section with any comment we receive from rental firms or the BVRLA
Warning: Unofficial sites charging 6 times the face value for Crit’Air stickers. How to make sure you don’t get caught out.
Brit motorists heading to France are being targeted by sites charging huge administrative fees to supply the Crit’Air anti-pollution stickers required to drive in Paris from March 31. Stickers are also required in Grenoble and Lyon.
The sites are not operating illegally, but cashing in on confusion over the new system will leave drivers out of pocket by charging large admin fees for a service the French authorities offer for free. One site, listed below, is charging more than six times the face value of the stickers.
Some websites are also urging users to call ‘information lines’ which cost around €3-a-minute for French callers and significantly more for foreign-based users.
One site, Crit-Air.fr offers an international order page, where foreign motorists are charged €29.65 (around £25.56) for the anti-pollution stickers, as opposed to the official store price at €4.80 (around £4.18) for the sticker and postage.
Where to buy the Crit’Air sticker without admin costs
The official site to buy the anti-pollution stickers, as reported by this website, is as follows:
This is how the new Crit’Air stickers will be applied to your car.
CRIT’AIR GREEN VEHICLES (GREEN AND WHITE STICKER) Lowest band restricted only for 100% pure-electric or hydrogen vehicles.
CRIT’AIR 1 (PURPLE STICKER) Plug-in hybrid cars and Euro 5 and 6 petrol models (registered from 1 January 2011).
CRIT’AIR 2 (YELLOW STICKER) Euro 4 petrol-powered cars (registered between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010) and Euro 5 and 6 diesel models (registered from 1 January 2011).
CRIT’AIR 3 (ORANGE STICKER) Euro 2 and 3 petrol cars (registered from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2005).
Petrol cars registered before 1997 do not qualify for a Crit’Air sticker at all and will be barred from entering the city 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday
Crit’Air 3 also includes Euro 4 diesel cars (registered between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010).
CRIT’AIR 4 (DARK RED STICKER) Euro 3 diesel cars registered between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2005.
CRIT’AIR 5 (DARK BLUE STICKER) Euro 2 diesels, registered from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2000.
Petrol and diesel cars older than this are not eligible for a Crit’Air and will be barred from entering the city 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday.
What if my registration certificate (registration) contains an error or is missing information?
Errors on the registration certificate must be reported for correction to the prefecture of the department of your choice.
I cannot enter my licence plate number
Your vehicle’s number plate must be entered in the same way as on the vehicle’s V05 certificate.
You will not be able to upload your V05 document until your account has been activated. A confirmation of the activation of your account will be emailed to you by email@example.com It will follow the first email confirming the registration of your application – this can take up to a week but usually takes up to 48 hours.
When importing a file, the site displays a blank page
Make sure that you are using the correct file type and size. The file size has now been increased from 200kb to 400kb, which will make it easier for scanning. However, this is still a relatively small size, so if required use photo editing software to optimise the file before attempting to upload. Use the likes of Adobe Photoshop if you have them, otherwise free online sites such as imageoptimizer.net can be used.