Since 2016, France has installed "traffic restriction zones" (ZCR or zones à circulation restreinte) only accessible with an anti-pollution certificate. The aim of introducing this environmental vignette is to encourage cleaner, less polluting forms of transport. Vehicles registered outside of France also need to display a Crit'Air certificate.
What is Crit’Air?
Crit’Air is an air quality certificate. Basically it's a round vignette to stick on your vehicle. Each vignette corresponds to a category of vehicle, determined by atmospheric pollutant emission levels. There are 6 different categories of certificate, each with a different colour.
Once issued and displayed on the vehicle windscreen, the vignette is valid for the lifespan of the vehicle. Whatever the vehicle may be.
Where do we need a Crit’Air certificate?
The certificate is only mandatory in certain zones. Inner-city Paris became the first traffic restriction zone in France where the vignette has been mandatory since July 2017, Mondays to Fridays, 8.00am to 8.00pm.
Elsewhere in France, restricted traffic zones can be implemented temporarily during pollution peaks, for example in big cities such as Grenoble, Toulouse, Lille, Lyon, Strasbourg and Annecy. Other towns should soon be following their example.
In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the certificate is not mandatory. However the approach is widely supported by public services in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
How do you get a Crit’Air vignette?
French or foreign drivers can order the vignette on line on the Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire's website (this is the only official website authorised to issue it).
The vignette costs €3.70 excluding postage. Postage costs are currently €4.18 for delivery in France, €4.80 for deliveries to the European Union and Switzerland, and €5 outside the European Union. Estimated delivery time is between 5 to 10 days.
N.B. offending vehicles will be subject to a €68 fine for a private car and €135 for a coach.