Paris region imposes traffic limit as air pollution spikes

The Paris region is to limit traffic from Saturday morning in response to two consecutive days of heavy particulate pollution.

Île-de-France is launching emergency traffic measures to deal with an air pollution crisis.
Île-de-France is launching emergency traffic measures to deal with an air pollution crisis. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

The Préfecture de Police is to introduce new rules in Île-de-France, a French region containing Paris, in response high levels of air pollution. 

The following measures will remain in place from Saturday morning at 5:30am until pollution has dropped below the recommended limit:

  • Only drivers with a Critic’Air class 0, 1 or 2 sticker (the lowest-polluting vehicles) will be allowed to drive within the A86 ring-road that surrounds Paris;
  • Speed limits will be reduced across the region. 130km/h zones will be reduced to 110km/h, 110km/h zones will be reduced to 90km/h, 90km/h roads will be reduced to 70km/h 

The police will be conducting checks to ensure that these rules are respected. 

While the restrictions remain in place, authorities are calling for people to limit journeys, work from home and if necessary, car-share. 

Can I drive in Paris?

As previously mentioned, only vehicles that are labelled as Critic’Air 2 or below will be able to drive within Paris itself. But what does this mean?

Critic’Air 0 vehicles are ones that are powered by electricity or hydrogen.

Critic’Air 1 vehicles can run on petrol but must have already been in circulation no earlier than 2011 for cars, by 2017 for motorcycles or by 2014 for heavy goods vehicles.

Critic’Air 2 vehicles can use petrol or diesel. Diesel cars must have been in circulation no earlier than 2011 and petrol ones no earlier than 2006. Motorcycles must have been in circulation no earlier than 2007. Diesel heavy-goods vehicles must have been in service no earlier than 2014 while petrol ones no earlier than 2009. 

Even outside of heavy air pollution periods, it has been illegal for vehicles of a Critic’Air 4 category (two wheeled vehicles registered before 2000, diesel cars registered before 2001 and HGVs registered before 2006) to enter Paris.

From July 2022 Critic’Air 3 vehicles (two-wheeled vehicles from before 2004, petrol cars from before 1997, diesel cars from before 2006, diesel HGVs from before 2009 and petrol HGVs from before 2001) will be banned from entering the city. 

The city will ban Critic’Air 2 vehicles from January 2024 and hopes to only allow ‘clean’ vehicles from 2030. 

For a guide on the vehicle pollution categories, click here

Most of Paris is already subject to a 30km/h speed limit, which we reported here

Other useful information 

Île-de-France Mobilités, the group responsible for public transport in the region are re-introducing a special pollution pass.

For €3.80 you can use unlimited public transport for a day. You can buy one via the Île-de-France Mobilités app, as a paper ticket from a transport station, or on your Navigo pass (including Navigo Découverte and Navigo Easy). 

It is illegal to use individual wood burners while the pollution restrictions remain in place. 

Farmers are banned from burning certain agricultural waste and are prohibited from cleaning silos for as long as the restrictions remain in place.

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Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Miss.Tic, whose provocative work began cropping up in the Montmartre neighbourhood of Paris in the mid-80s and made her a pioneer of French street art, died on Sunday aged 66, her family told AFP.

Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Radhia Novat grew up in the narrow streets in the shadow of Sacre-Coeur basilica, the daughter of a Tunisian father and a mother from Normandy in western France, where she began stencilling sly and emancipatory slogans.

Her family said she had died of an unspecified illness.

Other French street artists paid tribute to her work.

On Twitter, street artist Christian Guemy, alias C215, hailed “one of the founders of stencil art”. The walls of the 13th arrondissement of Paris – where her images are a common sight – “will never be the same again”, he wrote.

Another colleague, “Jef Aerosol” said she had fought her final illness with courage, in a tribute posted on Instagram.

And France’s newly appointed Culture Minister, Rima Abdul Malak, saluted her “iconic, resolutely feminist” work.

Miss.Tic’s work often included clever wordplays — almost always lost in translation — and a heroine with flowing black hair who resembled the artist herself. The images became fixtures on walls across the capital.

Miss. Tic with some examples of her work. Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP

“I had a background in street theatre, and I liked this idea of street art,” Miss.Tic said in a 2011 interview.

“At first I thought, ‘I’m going to write poems’. And then, ‘we need images’ with these poems. I started with self-portraits and then turned towards other women,” she said.

Miss.Tic also drew the attention of law enforcement over complaints of defacing public property, leading to an arrest in 1997.

But her works came to be shown in galleries in France and abroad, with some acquired by the Paris modern art fund of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, according to her website.

And cinema buffs will recognise her work on the poster for Claude Chabrol’s 2007 film “La fille coupee en deux” (“A Girl Cut in Two”).

For a spell she was a favourite of fashion brands such as Kenzo and Louis Vuitton.

“So often it’s not understood that you can be young and beautiful and have things to say,” she told AFP in 2011.

“But it’s true that they sell us what they want with beautiful women. So I thought, I’m going to use these women to sell them poetry.”

Her funeral, the date of which is still to be announced, will be open to the public, said her family.