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DRIVING

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.

Crit’Air

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.

Zones

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.

Reims 

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.

Toulouse

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

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.

Nice

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.

Grenoble

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

Saint-Etienne

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.

Strasbourg

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

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).

Lyon

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.

Rouen

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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For members

PROPERTY

What to expect from your 2023 French property tax bills

The annual demands for property taxes have begun arriving at households across France - and many people will notice quite a difference to last year's bill.

What to expect from your 2023 French property tax bills

Every year in September and October the French tax office sends out bills to households across France relating to property taxes – these are separate to income tax bills, which arrive over the summer.

The autumn bills are usually made up of three parts; taxe foncière, taxe d’habitation and the redevance audiovisuelle.

However, system changes to all three parts mean that for some people bills will be be much lower than last year, while others will have nothing at all to pay.

Here’s what changes;

Redevance audiovisuelle – this was the TV licence and was charged at €138 per household, with some exceptions for pensioners or people who had no TV.

This year, it has been scrapped for everyone (including second-home owners) so most people’s bills are €138 less than last year.

Taxe d’habitation – this is the householder’s tax, paid by the inhabitant of the property – whether you rent it or own it. This is gradually being phased out, a process that started in 2019. It has been done based on income, with those on lower incomes having the charge scrapped first until it is gradually scrapped for everyone – with the exception of very high earners and second home owners.

So depending on your income level, you may have already had the tax phased out, or it may be phased out for you this year, or you may be paying a reduced rate this year.

These two changes are part of a tax giveaway from president Emmanuel Macron, and at the bottom of your tax bill you will find a note explaining how the charges have changed this year, and what you would have paid without the reductions.

It will look something like this;

Taxe foncière – this is the property owners’ tax and is paid on any property that you own – if you own the home you live in you may need to pay both taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière and if you are a second-home owner you will also pay both.

In contrast to the other two taxes, however, this one has been going up in many areas.

In fact, it’s connected to the taxe d’habitation cut – local authorities used to benefit from taxe d’habitation, so the phasing out has left many of them short of money. In some areas, they have reacted by raising taxe foncière.

This tax is calculated based partly on the size and value of the property you own (which is why if you do any major renovations or add a swimming pool you need to tell the tax office) and partly on the tax level decided by your local authority. 

This means that the actual rate varies quite widely between different parts of France, but in some areas it has gone up by 20 percent.

You can find more about how the tax is calculated, and how to challenge your bill if you think it is excessive, HERE.

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