Here is a short article about the French emissions certificate (Certificat qualité de l’air) – also known as the Crit Air sticker that is mandatory for driving through many cities in France. If you do not have the certificate you can be fined.
The certificate is actually a coloured sticker that you put on your windscreen to show what category of emissions your vehicle is.
Gradually, more polluting vehicles are being excluded from cities in an attempt to improve air quality.
The sticker can be green (for zero emission vehicles) or a number from 1-5, each in different colours. Here are the categories:
For zero emissions vehicles, such as 100% electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoe.
Purple (category 1)
For hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius and plug-in hybrids like the Lexus UX PHEV.
Yellow (category 2)
EURO4 petrol vehicles, or EURO5 diesel vehicles. Probably the most common category for “traditional” cars.
Orange (category 3)
EURO2 petrol and EURO4 diesel vehicles. Older motorhomes might still be on the road and in this category.
Brown (category 4)
Grey (category 5)
Some categories are already banned from cities, and this trend is set to continue. Paris, for example is going to eventually make it so that only green vehicles are allowed by 2030. All others will be excluded.
To find out what classification your vehicle is, and to buy a sticker go here. You can switch the site to English by clicking on EN in the top right hand corner. Also, watch out for dodgy websites that look official but are not.
Only order from the official website https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/
The cost of the sticker is 3.62€ plus a bit more for postage. Any websites that want more are dodgy and should be ignored.
When I ordered mine it took nearly a month to arrive, so make sure to order it in plenty of time for your journey. You do get a PDF file sent to you which you can print out and use until the sticker arrives. This is emailed to you within 48 hours of applying. Remember too, that the sticker is only for driving for urban areas such as Paris and Rouen. Make sure to check the exact rules that are in force using the government website linked above. Some cities already have bans on category 5, with plans to extend this to category 4. If you are driving a “classic” car this could impact you!
Finally, if you are heading down to Spain, please check out the equivalent DGT emissions scheme for driving in the cities there.