Driving For Members

Grace period for fines over France's new law on winter tyres

The Local France
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Grace period for fines over France's new law on winter tyres
Snow tires will be compulsory this winter. Photo: Jean Francois Monier/AFP

This winter sees the introduction of fines for drivers who do not comply with France's new laws requiring snow tyres to be fitted in mountainous areas of the country - although the transport ministry has now announced a grace period.


The Loi Montage II (mountain law II) was signed into effect in 2020 - it came into effect on November 1st 2021 but in the first year drivers were not fined, simply reminded of the new law by police.

Police were due to begin issuing fines from November 1st 2022, but the Transport ministry has now announced a further grace period, and said that fines will not begin to be issued until 2023.

The law requires drivers in certain areas to have snow tyres or chains fitted to their car between November 1st and March 31st.

In total 48 départements are covered by the law but some local authorities - including Corrèze, Nièvre and the island of Corsica - have elected not to use it. In others, it applies only in mountainous areas.

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The départements covered by the law are; Ain, Allier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Côte-d'Or, Creuse, Doubs, Drôme, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Hérault, Isère, Jura, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lot, Lozère, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse, Haute-Vienne, Vosges, Yonne, Territoire de Belfort.


Within the départements covered by the new law, local committees have created lists of roads and communes where it will be enforced - usually in mountainous areas - so for full details check your local préfecture.

The following road signs signal entry and exit of an area where winter tyres are compulsory.


You can also find a map HERE, showing each area covered in more detail.

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The law runs from November 1st to March 31st and applies to all private cars and vans, commercial vehicles and motorhomes, as well as buses and HGVs. Vehicles must have either winter or all-season tyres on all four wheels, or anti-skid devices such as chains on at least the two driving wheels.

The law has had a lengthy passage to enforcement, being passed in 2016 and then signed into effect in 2020, leading motoring organisations to be concerned that drivers will have forgotten the new requirement.

"The information has had time to be forgotten," said Laurent Proust, the general manager of BestDrive. "Unfortunately, as of November 1st, the gendarmes will tell you, first, that no one is supposed to ignore the law, and, second, that you are liable to a fine of €135."


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Anonymous 2022/10/30 14:26
The Haute Vienne Prefecture info says that there are no communes in the Haute Vienne that are affected by this new law. So do we have to comply with it?
Anonymous 2021/11/02 15:13
Apparently the Corréze prefet has decided that this is not for us; see the web page at for connfirmation.
Anonymous 2021/09/28 20:16
Hi William, we are very lucky and have an apartment in the French Alps. We spend 3 months there in winter. I now have snow tyres put on my car in November and in April I have them replaced with ordinary tyres. Prior to this I used these which go over my ordinary wheels/tyres. Really easy to use ie put on and take off. They also come with a certificate that they are fully legal and accepted by the Gendarmerie. The certificate is in French and also shows the French Law that they come under. Unfortunately you will need something the sock, chains or snow tyres. There is usually and area near the resort that is nit to far uo the mountain that is designated for drivers to put their snow socks/chains on. This will be a blue triangle with a tyre and snow chain around it.(Or at leats it is at the bottom of our resort in the Savoie region(73). Hope this helps and have a great holiday. Regards, Lou
Anonymous 2021/09/28 10:05
I'd like an answer to those comments too please, as I will be driving back from Herault to Calais in November.
robyn_61091c3de40c5 2021/09/27 19:04
Surely the law states ‘winter tyres fitted’ or CARRYING snow chains/anti skid devices (which must be fitted if snow). As you can’t drive a vehicle with snow chains or snow socks when there is no snow!
Anonymous 2021/09/27 14:35
Can someone tell me if this applies to tourists (or non-French registered vehicles)? We're due to go skiing in February in the French Alps and are driving there from the UK. Thanks!
  • Anonymous 2021/09/28 11:31
    Surely if you are driving to the Alps your car should be suitably equipped, new law or no law and in the mountains this has been a requirement for years. But yes my reading of this is that just to drive out of Calais you need to. I drive to the south over the Massif Central which can snowy and icy in winter. I I always carry a set of snow socks in the boot and have done for years, take up little space, I carry a certificate in French certifying that they are legal for use on snow. Even better I now have Michelin Cross Climates. Best option is to replace your tyres with Michelin Cross Climates, then you are future proofed. Cross Climates perform better than summer tyres below about 8°C so are just the job for UK winters and good for Summer use as well. You also risk invalidating your insurance if you drive in France on illegal tyres, just like you would here driving on tyres with not enough tread. I can say that as a retired claims manager.

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