Driving through France this summer? This is what you’ll need to avoid a fine

Driving through France this summer? This is what you'll need to avoid a fine

UK holidaymakers driving through France this summer are being told to plan ahead, or risk getting fined. 

At least 14 areas across the country are now requiring motorists to display a windscreen emissions sticker.

Drivers who fail to abide by the rule face a fine of up to £58 (€68), which rises to £154 (€180) if not paid within 45 days.

Fines will increase to up to £640 (€750) from next year when camera-based enforcement begins.

Motorists are being warned to plan ahead as the stickers must be ordered in advance from the French government website at a cost of £4 (€4.61).

The RAC has urged drivers to avoid third-party websites which charge up to six times as much.

Driving through France this summer? This is what you'll need to avoid a fine

Driving through France this summer? This is what you'll need to avoid a fine

There are six different types of sticker, based on a vehicle’s air pollutant emissions.

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The cleanest electric and hydrogen vehicles require green “0” stickers, while at the opposite end of the spectrum the most polluting diesel vehicles need “5” stickers.

Some areas of France restrict vehicle movements based on their sticker. Paris has the strictest regime with some roads at specific times only open to cars bearing “0”, “1” or “2” stickers.

The RAC is also warning that other European countries such as Spain and Switzerland also have increasingly strict emissions regulations.

One country’s emissions sticker is not valid in another, so many UK tourists embarking on road trips covering several destinations will need to have multiple stickers.

French Low Emission Zones

Permanent low emission zones, also known as ZCRs, only allow vehicles displaying a certain category of Crit’Air sticker.

As of July 2023, there are 14 ZCRs including: Aix-Marseille-Provence region, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulouse.

Emergency low emission zones, known as ZPAs, are temporary restrictions imposed on certain vehicles. These are implemented in certain locations when there is a risk of dangerously high air pollution levels.

All vehicles must display a sticker when public announcements dictate that restrictions are in place.

There are currently 28 areas where emergency low emission zones are implemented during certain conditions. Check the Urban Access Regulations for more.

Paris has two permanent low-emission zones covering greater (ZPE) and central (ZCR) Paris.

Only vehicles displaying stickers E or 0,1 or 2 are allowed to enter the area within the Boulevard Périphérique ring-road between 0800 and 2000 Monday to Friday.

The Greater Paris ZCR largely covers the area within the city’s A86 ‘outer’ ring road. Only vehicles with stickers E, 1 and 2 are allowed to enter between 0800 and 2000 from Monday to Friday.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Many UK drivers will be familiar with clean air zones such as London’s ultra low emission zone, but they should also be ready to encounter them abroad this summer.

“It’s vital anyone travelling to Europe does their homework to see whether an emissions-based windscreen sticker is needed – and give themselves enough time to order one before their trip.”


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