Crit’air is France’s contribution to European measures to limit the carbon emissions from motorised transport within urban environments. The scheme was developed by the French Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the French Ministry of the Interior and came into force in January 2017.
To drive within one of six French cities, you need to display your CRIT-air sticker. The cities currently covered include Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Lille, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Chambery, and Marseille.
Depending on how your vehicle is classified, you may not be able to enter central Paris (for instance) or drive in the city during high-pollution episodes. For more information on these restrictions, visit France’s environmental transition ministry here.
Cars registered outside France are not exempt, so if you’re planning on driving to any of the cities in which the scheme operates, you’ll need to pick one up. They cost just €3.11 plus postage. Do allow plenty of time for this, as well – there have been reports of certificates taking up to six weeks to arrive.
The certificates come in the form of circular, colour-coded windscreen stickers (vignettes) that designate the level of emissions your vehicle produces.
There are six in total, numbered and colour coded as follows:
Green (unnumbered) 100% electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Purple (1; euro 5/6) Electric/petrol hybrid vehicles / petrol cars built since January 2011
Yellow (2; euro 4) Diesel vehicles built since January 2011
Petrol cars built between 1st Jan 2006 and 31st Dec 2010.
Orange (3; euro 2/3) Diesel vehicles built from 1st Jan 2006 to 31st Dec 2010
Petrol cars built from 1st Jan 1997 to 31st Dec 2005.
Red (4; euro 3) Diesel vehicles built from 1st Jan 2001 to 31st Dec 2005
Grey (5; euro 2) Diesel vehicles built from 1st Jan 1997 to 31st Dec 2000
Vehicles classed as Euro 1 (manufactured prior to 1st January 1997) cannot be certified, since they fall into the most polluting class. This is particularly bad news for vintage car owners, who are not permitted to drive into the city centre between 8am and 8pm.
You can order the certificates and find all the information you need here.