Important Information for guests driving via Paris

There is a new piece of legislation in France which will impact on all our guests driving from the channel ports via Paris.

It is called the Crit’Air.

Basically, it’s a pollution charge. The Mayor of Paris is apparently vehemently “Anti Car”, and has promised to rid the city of its car problems. I assume this means she will be going to her many and varied meetings by skateboard, with a fleet of outrider security personnel on roller blades, rather than the normal stretch limo and BMW motorcycles, but I may be wrong.

For us mere mortals, it means you need to have a certificate and sticker for your car, showing its category with regard to pollution, and confirming you have paid a charge of about 3 quid.

Any car or motorcycle driving within the outer “Peripherique” of Paris must have one (Grenoble and Lyon have the same scheme). Failure to do so will get you a fine of 68 euros, in addition to a stern Gendarme harrumphing at your anglo-saxon silliness, followed by some energetic shoulder shrugging at your claims of not being aware of the new law.

It is a one-off deal, so it lasts for the life of the vehicle. But let’s be honest now, these are politicians we are talking about. People with all the integrity of a hungry lion eyeing up a buffalo with a gammy leg when it comes to money. So that may change.

But, at least for the moment, you only have to do it once.

So, what do you need to do?

Firstly, DO NOT just go online and click on the first site you see. There are apparently a lot of shady gentlemen with dark glasses and sovereign rings running websites purporting to offer Crit’Air registration. They will take your details, then tuck you up for 30 or 40 euros, and if you don’t pay, Big Ron will pay you a visit in the early hours and cause your own personal emissions to peak somewhat. Some sites also insist on using Premium Rate Phone Numbers for registration, so you may find yourself happily chatting about the weather to some bloke in Uzbekistan, whilst your phone bill multiplies at an alarming rate.

So, don’t do that. That would be silly.

Here is what you do.

Get hold of your car’s Registration Document.

Then go to https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/

The registration is simple, quick, and costs 3.62 euros. This includes postage of your sticker to the UK.

The website has an English language version, and you can do the whole thing from home in 15 minutes online. I did, and I am a compete numpty.

Just answer the questions with details as they appear on your reg document, then pay with a credit card.

Once you have completed it, take a screenshot of the form confirming payment (just in case).

An email will be sent to you (mine arrived within an hour – on a Sunday) with a receipt, and a document which confirms you have registered and paid, and the Crit’Air rating of your vehicle.  You can use this before your sticker comes through if necessary.

The ratings range from 0 (Green) to 5 (Dark Blue), and your category can make a difference to where, and when, you are able to travel though Paris.

If you are travelling to the south-west of France where we are, you can always by-pass Paris. Just enter “Le Mans” as a waypoint on your route, and it will bring you to the west of Paris, by-passing the city entirely.

You don’t need a certificate to drive AROUND the Peripherique, only inside it. But do bear in mind that many routes around the Paris will divert you inside the ring to avoid traffic – such are the vagaries of Sat Nav.

But, if you do envisage going into the city, your rating may affect when you are allowed in.

For example:

Crit’Air 0: Green and White Sticker.: These are the zero polluting cars. So electric cars, hydrogen cars, those cars with engines that run on water that the conspiracy nutters claim are being kept secret by the oil companies, skateboards and canoes. (I made the last three up). There are no restrictions when these cars can go into the city, or where. Indeed, apparently, you will be worshipped as a hero and showered with flowers and free champagne as you coast down the Champs Elysee if you have a green and white sticker.

Crit’Air 1: Purple Sticker: Hybrid Cars and Euro 5 or 6 petrol vehicles (small engines and efficient) registered after 1/1/2011. Our Fiat Punto is this category. Yayyy..Go Punto 😊

Crit’Air 2: Yellow Sticker: Euro 4 petrol cars 1997 – 2005, and Euro 5 and 6 diesels reg after 1/1/2011

Crit’Air 3 Orange Sticker: Euro 2 and 3 petrol cars (registered from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2005).
Euro 4 diesel cars (registered between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010).

Crit’Air 4 Dark Red Sticker: Euro 3 diesel cars registered between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2005.

Crit’Air 5 Dark Blue Sticker.:These are the most polluting carts – twenty-three cylinder diesel luxo barges with central heating, that burn rare furniture and puppies for fuel. Cars with a Crit’Air 5 rating are barred from entering Paris within the Peripherique between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

PLUS – Diesel cars OLDER than 1/1/1997, and Petrol cars registered BEFORE 1997, do NOT qualify for any sticker. At all. So don’t bother applying. These vehicles are also barred from entering Paris between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. And you can’t even have a sticker. So there.

So, if you are coming down to see us, just go online beforehand, register your car, get your certificate (and your sticker) and then you are good to go.

If you are in a car that would fit in Crit’Air 5 or does not qualify at all, just by-pass Paris.

And if you are hiring a car, make sure it has a Crit’Air sticker on the windscreen. If it doesn’t and you envisage driving into Paris, demand a car with a sticker from the hire company. I am sure, being the fine upstanding and professional organisations car hire companies are, they will smile broadly, apologise profusely for their oversight, make you a cuppa and dash out to get one. Or maybe, as personal experience may suggest, they will shrug and try to stiff you for 500 quid for scuffing the wheels despite you not having been within two yards of a kerb.

Drive safely,

Mark

Chateau de la Couronne

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