Driving in France? You NEED an Air Quality Sticker

A new law in the major cities (place in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble) in France is going to affect anybody driving in the country.

Even if you’re just passing through, or there for the weekend in your campervan, it’s important that you know all about Air Quality Stickers. You don’t want to ruin a perfectly good trip by accidentally breaking the law – especially when it’s so simple to follow.

So, before you head off on holiday, here’s what you need to know…

What is the new law?

Lawmakers in Paris are trying to cut down on pollution, so they’ve banned cars registered before 1996 (and vans registered before 1997) from entering the city between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Now, this law has actually been in effect since last year.

However, the new regulations require vehicles to display a sticker that shows just how polluting their car is, on a scale of one to five.

On days when smog is particularly bad, they can then extend the ban to, for example, all vehicles with a 4 or 5 grade sticker (as these are the most pollutant).

Who is affected?

You – if you’re planning on visiting the French capital in a car or motorhome.

Tourists and visitors are not exempt from this new law, although they do have until March 31st to get their sticker.

It applies to the entire city of Paris, unless you’re simply passing through on the Paris Ring Road (Boulevard Périphérique) – as many Brits do when they head to the south of France.

How can I get an Air Quality Sticker?

You can buy an Air Quality Sticker from the official website here.

Please note, other websites that sell the stickers have been known to charge excessive administration costs.

At the official site, you will pay just €4.80 – others are charging up to €30.

Which one do I need for my vehicle?

This is the important part. You need to make sure you have the right sticker, or you won’t be permitted to drive in Paris.

As mentioned, your vehicle will be graded on a scale of one to five (five being the most pollutant), but there is an additional sticker for green vehicles that are 100% electric of hydrogen powered.

For everyone else, youl yo need to see which of the following categories your vehicle fits into based on the European Emissions Standards that each road vehicle must adhere to.

The year of build of your vehicle and the emissions levels determines which level your vehicle falls into, and which certificate you need for your carvehicle when driving in France. So, for example, if you drive a 2004 diesel vehicle, you’ll need a CRIT’AIR 4, Dark Red Sticker). The below details which sticker you’ll need for your vehicle:

image credit: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/

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), 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.

Are disabled persons exempt from this law?

Yes, they are. If you have a parking card for disabled persons, then you will not require a sticker.

What happens if I don’t have a sticker?

You will be fined between €68-€135 if you don’t abide by this law and get a sticker.

Anything else I need to be aware of?

One last thing – as of July 1st 2017, vehicles with a category 5 sticker will also be banned from Paris between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

And that’s pretty much it. If you want any more information, then you can visit the official website. But everything is pretty straight forward – get a sticker, or face a fine.