Guide: environmental zones in France
In Germany, we have been used to long-standing controversial environmental zones for years. In major cities, you can only drive within the city limits if you have a green sticker on your windshield. France is also introducing the eco-label in more and more regions.
Until now, the French environmental badge (Crit’Air vignette) was only required in many cities in case of a particulate emission alarm. With the creation of fixed environmental zones, Zone à Faibles Émissions mobilité, the situation has now changed, and in more and more metropolitan areas, access to the inner city area is only possible with the appropriate sticker. This also applies to drivers from abroad, therefore also from Germany, Austria or Switzerland.
Paris Greater Paris Metropolis Grenoble Metropolis Lyon Eurometropolis Strasbourg Montpellier-Mediterranean Toulouse Toulon-Provence-Mediterranean Rouen-Normandie Nice Cote d’Azur Saint-Etienne Reims Aix-Marseille (from August 2020)
By the beginning of 2025, all metropolitan areas with more than 150 thousand inhabitants should have permanent environmental protection zones. This affects around 40 cities in total, including Metz, Bordeaux and Nantes. For vehicles with high pollutant emissions, successive bans will apply depending on the corresponding Crit’Air category. The sticker requirement and driving bans continue to apply even if an air pollution alert is called at the local level. If the vehicle does not have the appropriate Crit’Air vignette, affected drivers face a €68 fine.
From January 2022, Crit’Air is mandatory all year round in the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg. Vehicles with Crit’Air vignette 5 are no longer allowed to drive. However, violations of the sticker requirement are still not penalized. The corresponding penalties will be applied only from January 2023. If a particulate emission alert is sounded in Strasbourg, speed restrictions will apply for the first three days. From the fourth day, only cars with Crit’Air 0, 1 and 2 labels are allowed to drive. However, some sections of motorways are exempt from the current regulations. Anyone who would like to be informed by sms or e-mail. in the event of a particle alert by mail, can be registered through local portals.
The French Environmental Badge can be ordered online through the website of the French Ministry of the Environment. The vignette costs 4.51 euros including shipping to Germany. If the vignette has not arrived at the time you start your vacation, it is enough to show the confirmation of the order at the check-in or display it in a clearly visible place on the windshield of the car. The European Center for Consumer Protection has been campaigning for years for mutual recognition of environmental stickers in the German-French border region. From June 1, Crit’Air is accepted in the cities of Karlsruhe, Freiburg and the municipality of Pfinztal. The recognition of the German green environmental label in the border zone is also being discussed in France.