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MAP: Which French cities have vehicle bans or restrictions?

If you're driving in a French city, the chances are high that there will be low-emission zones or other restrictions for vehicles, and you may also need a Crit'Air sticker.

MAP: Which French cities have vehicle bans or restrictions?
A French Gendarme uses a tablet to control the "Crit'Air" sticker on a car (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP)

In order to control pollution levels in France, cities across the country are bringing in ‘low-emission zones,’ called “Zone à faible émissions mobilité” (ZFE).

Some places have complete vehicle bans, while others have bans on certain types of vehicles or restrictions at certain times, while others only implement restrictions if the pollution level is high. In all cases, the system is based on the Crit’Air sticker.


These stickers show police the emissions level of your vehicle and range from Crit’Air E (zero emissions vehicles) to Crit’Air 5 for the most polluting.

The sticker should go on the right-hand side of your car’s windshield and should be visible at all times when you are driving in the city. The sticker includes your vehicle’s registration plate so cannot be swapped or borrowed.

It applies to both French and foreign registered vehicles, so if you’re planning a trip to France and intend to drive in cities, you need to order the sticker in advance and have it sent to you by post. 

Find out how HERE

Failing to respect the applicable rules for low-emissions zones can lead to fines.


As of September 1st, three cities – Lyon, Rouen and Marseille – have expanded their low-emission zones, while several other cities are planning to introduce them by 2025.

The below map shows cities that already have them (blue) and cities that intend to introduce them by 2025 (yellow).

Photo credit: The French ecological transition ministry

Paris and the greater Paris region

The city of Paris is a ZFE. Unclassified vehicles and those in the Crit’Air 4 and Crit’Air 5 categories were no longer authorised to drive within the perimeter of the A86 périphérique as of June 1st, 2021.

These include “Euro 3 vehicles, diesels manufactured before 2006 and motorcycles manufactured before July 2004,” according to French government website Service-Public.

Vehicles in the Crit’Air 3 category (diesel engines before 2010, petrol/gasoline engines before 2006) are still allowed to drive in the Greater Paris area until July 1, 2023.

For Paris, these rules apply during the hours of 8am until 8pm on weekdays, excepting public holidays. For ‘light vehicles’ (private cars, light commercial vehicles, two-wheelers, motor tricycles and quadricycles), these rules apply on weekdays (excluding public holidays). For buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles these rules apply seven days a week.

Thus, the only vehicles authorised to drive within the city of Paris between these hours, seven days a week are zero emissions cars or those with Crit’Air stickers 1-3.


For Reims, the low-emission zone applies to “light vehicles, light commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches.” As of January 1st, 2022 Crit’Air 5 vehicles were banned. 

This ban is set to be extended to Crit’Air 4 vehicles on January 1st, 2023. Later in 2024, Crit’Air 3 vehicles will also restricted. 

These rules do not concern two-wheel vehicles, motor tricycles and quadricycles, motorcycles and mopeds, or agricultural tractors.


In Toulouse, the Low Emission Zone came into effect on March 1st, 2022.

As of September 1st, 2022, non-classified vehicles, vans and heavy goods vehicles with the Crit’Air 5 label, as well as commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles with Crit’Air 4 stickers were not allowed to drive in the low-emissions zone.

This is set to be gradually extended to others. From January 1st, 2023: all motor vehicles with Crit’air 4, 5 and non-classified labels will be restricted. Eventually, in 2024 only zero emissions vehicles and those with Crit’Air 1 and 2 stickers be authorised to circulate within the zone.


Montpellier introduced its low-emissions zone on July 1st, 2022. Until December 31st, 2022, no fines will be imposed as it is to be considered an educational period. 

The city also allows an exception for “small drivers” – those who own a vehicle but drive under 8,000 km per year. To qualify you must fill out THIS form. 

As of July 1st 2022 in Montpellier, vehicles without a Crit’Air sticker are prohibited in the low emissions zone. This includes cars that were put into circulation before January 1, 1997, light commercial vehicles dating from before October 1997 or heavy goods vehicles, buses or coaches registered before October 1, 2001.

This means that ‘light vehicles’ that are either low emission or fall into categories one through five are permitted, as of July 1st.

The rules are applicable all days of the week and at all times.


As of January 2022, heavy goods vehicles (more than 3.5 tons) and coaches with a Crit’Air 5 sticker (vehicles considered to be the most polluting) were banned from the streets of the city centre and the Promenade des anglais.

Other vehicles remain authorised to circulate in this zone.

From January 1st, 2023, heavy vehicles with a Crit’Air 4 sticker and light vehicles with a Crit’Air 5 sticker will be subject to this ban. By 2024, this restriction will be extended to heavy goods vehicles with a Crit’Air 3 sticker and light vehicles with a Crit’Air 4.


For the Grenoble-Alpes urban area known as the metropole, as of July 1st, 2022 vehicles with Crit’Air 3, 4, and 5 stickers were banned from circulation. 

From 2025, this will extend to Crit’Air 2 vehicles. You can read more HERE


In Saint-Etienne, only heavy goods vehicles and light commercial vehicles (vans) transporting goods are affected by restrictions. Two-wheelers and private vehicles are not. 

As of January 31st, 2022, the restrictions concerned ‘non-classified’ heavy goods vehicles (freight transport), i.e. put into circulation before October 1, 2001, as well as light commercial vehicles, also ‘non-classified’ (put into circulation before October 1, 1997). They were prohibited from circulating within the Saint-Etienne low emissions zone.

By January 1, 2025, the ban will be extended to all heavy goods vehicles, vans and small vans with Crit’air 4 and 5 stickers. Eventually, by 2027, it will also concern heavy goods vehicles, vans and small trucks with a Crit’air 3 stickers.


In Strasbourg, all motorised vehicles (cars, trucks, light commercial vehicles, 2 or 3 motorised wheels) with Crit’Air 5 stickers are banned. Other vehicles – those that are zero-emissions or have Crit’Air 1, 2, 3, or 4 stickers are authorised 7 days a week and at all times. 

After January 1st, 2023, sanctions will begin for Crit’Air 5 vehicles operating within the zone. After that, the other Crit’Air stickers will be progressively banned one by one until 2028, when only zero emissions vehicles, Crit’Air 1 and 2 will be allowed.


Marseille updated its regulations for Crit’Air stickers as of September 1st, 2022, banning Crit’Air 5 vehicles.

The ban will only concern 2 percent of personal vehicles, 4.4 percent of trucks and 1 percent of commercial vehicles.

In September 2023, this restriction will be extended to vehicles with Crit’Air 4 and earlier stickers. In September 2024, the restriction will be extended to vehicles with Crit’Air 3 stickers.

The low emissions zone applies to all categories of motorised vehicles (heavy goods vehicles, commercial vehicles, cars, two-wheelers, tricycles and quadricycles) and is permanent (7 days a week and 24 hours a day).


As of Thursday, September 1st, Lyon banned Crit’Air 5 vehicles and those without a Crit’Air sticker. Previously, this did not apply to private vehicles, but as of the start of September those were included as well.

Fines will begin starting January 2023.

Eventually, the city will seek to also progressively restrict Crit’Air 4, 3 and 2 vehicles in coming years. The greater Lyon urban area hopes to ban all diesel vehicles by 2026.


In Rouen, as of September 1st 2022, all motorists with Crit’Air 4 and 5 stickers were banned from driving in the low emissions zone. 

While Rouen had already established a low-emission zone in January 2022, it only concerned light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles.

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How Brexit and Covid have derailed Eurostar services between France and UK

The French boss of Eurostar has laid out how the combination of the pandemic, Brexit and ongoing uncertainty over new EU travel rules have left the company in a very precarious position.

How Brexit and Covid have derailed Eurostar services between France and UK

The Eurostar CEO Jacques Damas has laid out the company’s woes in a long letter to British MPs, stating that as things stand “Eurostar cannot currently pursue a strategy of volume and growth. We are having to focus on our core routes . . . and to charge higher prices to customers”.

He said that two things have significantly damaged the company – the pandemic (worsened by the fact that the company received no state aid from the UK government) and Brexit which has made travel between France and the UK considerably more complicated with more checks required at stations.

Damas said that peak capacity at both London St Pancras and Paris Gare du Nord is 30 percent less than it was pre-Brexit, because of the increased infrastructure needed to check and stamp the passports of travellers.

He said: “Even with all booths manned, St Pancras can only process a maximum of 1,500 passengers per hour, against 2,200 in 2019.

“It is only the fact that Eurostar has capacity-limited trains and significantly reduced its timetable from 2019 levels, that we are not seeing daily queues in the centre of London similar to those experienced in the Channel ports.

“This situation has obvious commercial consequences and is not sustainable in the mid to long-term.”

He added that the increased passport checks and stamping needed since Brexit adds at least 15 seconds to each passenger’s processing time, and that automated passport gates are less efficient.

The other factor that has hit the company hard was the pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions, leading to revenues being cut by 95 percent for 15 months.

The London-based company struggled to access government financial aid due to its ownership structure, with both the British and French governments reluctant to assume sole responsibility for bailing out the company.

It began as a joint venture between the British and French governments, but then the British sold off its share to private investors.

Damas said: “Contrary to the £7 billion in state aid given to our airline competitors, Eurostar did not receive any state-backed loans”. 

By May 2021 the company was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and was eventually bailed out to the tune of €290 million in loans and shareholder-guaranteed loans and equity – although this saved the company it has now left it with huge debts to be repaid.

The CEO’s letter was responding to questions from British MPs on the Transport Select Committee who wanted to know when trains would again stop at Ashford station – which has been closed since March 2020. Damas said there was no immediate prospect of that, or of reinstating the route to Disneyland Paris, while the company grapples with these financial problems.

He added that there is also “considerable uncertainty” around the new EU travel systems known as the EES and ETIAS, which are due to come into effect in 2023 and which will require extra checking of passports at the EU’s external borders – such as the UK/France border. 

READ ALSO Fears of ‘massive travel disruption’ in 2023

Many Eurostar passengers have commented recently on increased ticket prices, and it seems that there is little immediate prospect of prices going back down to 2019 levels.