France UK tourists warning as new driving laws risk £114 fine

Aerial view of Paris from Sacre-Coeur
-Credit: (Image: iStockphoto/Getty)

UK drivers heading to France are being warned to be aware of new driving laws that could land them with a fine. New vehicle laws and air pollution measures are among the regulations drivers need to watch for.

Plenty of Brits will be popping over to the Channel this summer. In addition, the Tour de France 2024 is fast approaching, and cycling enthusiasts from around the globe are set to descend - and Brits travelling to France to witness the various stages have been cautioned to remain vigilant.

While it's easy to be carried away by the thrilling atmosphere that will envelop cities such as Dijon, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Troyes, and Orleans, it's crucial to bear in mind that France has its own driving regulations which all drivers, including tourists, must adhere to or risk encountering issues with the law and potentially hefty fines. Car specialist Darren Miller, from, has outlined some of the new driving rules in France that Brits will need to be mindful of to avoid significant penalties.

New vehicle laws

Darren said: "The introduction of new laws in 2024, particularly the ban on diesel vehicles entering the Parisian zone, represents a significant step towards combating air pollution and promoting cleaner transportation. With fines increasing to €135 - around £114 - for non-compliant trucks, these regulations underscore the urgency of transitioning to more environmentally friendly vehicles.

"By following the Euro emissions standards and obtaining the necessary Crit'Air stickers, drivers can make sure their vehicles meet the required criteria, contributing to improved air quality and sustainable urban environments. The Crit'Air vignette system in France includes six categories, ranging from green for the cleanest vehicles to dark grey for the dirtiest.

"Within designated clean air zones, entry permissions hinge on the Crit'Air sticker prominently displayed on the vehicle's windscreen. This sticker serves as a visual indicator of the vehicle's emissions level, ensuring compliance with local regulations.

“It's important to note that certain vehicles, including cars registered before January 1997 and motorcycles and scooters registered before June 2000, are ineligible for entry and must follow the restrictions within these zones.”

Crit'Air stickers for clean air compliance

Darren explained: "The Crit'Air system in France plays an important role in reducing harmful vehicle emissions, especially in densely populated areas. Displaying the appropriate Crit'Air sticker on your vehicle not only ensures compliance with clean air laws but also helps mitigate air pollution, contributing to public health and environmental sustainability."

Regulations in Paris and Greater Paris Zones

Darren said: "Paris and its surrounding areas have implemented stringent regulations to combat air pollution, particularly with the recent introduction of more restrictive rules. It's important for drivers to be aware of these regulations, especially the limitations on vehicle entry based on Crit'Air vignette categories. With fines ranging from €68 to €135 for non-compliance, adhering to these regulations is not only a legal obligation but also a prudent step to avoid penalties."

Impact of clean air zones on vehicle access

He said: "Clean air zones are designed to restrict vehicle access based on their emissions levels, aiming to improve air quality and public health. Cars registered before January 1997 and certain motorcycles face restrictions and cannot be driven within these zones. This underscores the importance of understanding the Crit'Air system and ensuring your vehicle meets the necessary emissions standards to navigate these areas without hindrance."

Other regulations

In addition to Crit'Air stickers, drivers in France must also follow other regulations, such as carrying high-visibility vests. He said: "It's essential for motorists to be equipped with these vests in case of emergencies, as failure to do so can result in fines.

“Drivers also need to understand that the alcohol limits are also based on driving experience and are lower than those in the UK. For those with less than three years of experience, the limit is set at 0.2 grams per litre, while drivers with more than three years' experience must follow the limit of 0.5 grams per litre. Exceeding them can lead to fines, penalties, and endanger others on the roads.”