top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Vintage cars to be allowed in low-emission zones in France

Until now, such cars were rated very poorly with regards to air pollution, but they will now receive a waiver after being hailed as ‘a priceless part of our heritage’

A row of vintage French models of the Citroen 2CV

Vintage cars are a “priceless part of our industrial, technical, economic, social and cultural heritage”, the transport minister said in justifying the cars’ exemption from Crit’Air rules Pic: Marcel Hufschmidt / Shutterstock

Vintage cars will soon be able to use a special sticker to enable them to enter low-emission zones in four major cities in France.

Vintage car group la Fédération française des véhicules d'époque (FFVE) announced the news in a statement, after four years of negotiation with several towns and cities.

The FFVE has successfully argued for vintage cars to receive a special dispensation on the usual Crit’Air emission sticker system in the cities of Paris, Rouen, Reims, and Nice.

Other cities or areas, including Greater Paris, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Lyon, could also introduce the waiver soon.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said: “Our vintage vehicles constitute a priceless part of our industrial, technical, economic, social and cultural heritage.”

Mr Djebbari said he had contacted city authorities to “guarantee that vintage vehicles will be allowed in the low-emission zones” (les zones à faibles émissions (ZFE)).

Until now, vintage cars have been banned in ZFEs across France, as they are usually classified on the lower end of the Crit’Air air pollution scale, at 3, 4 or 5 (the same as a diesel car).

Only genuinely vintage, historic cars will be covered by the waiver. This means only cars that have a carte grise classifying them as “collection (collector’s)” vehicles.

These cars will likely now be allowed to use a separate Crit’Air sticker to “make this measure easier to enforce”, said the FFVE.

What is the Crit’Air system? 

Crit’Air is a “clean air” system of labelling for cars in France, which classifies them by how polluting they are, with a different colour for each level. 

Read more: A guide to Crit'Air stickers in France

The least polluting vehicles benefit from parking and traffic conditions, and the lowest number of restrictions within the low-emission zones. The most polluting are only allowed to enter the area on  certain days, or are completely banned between 8:00 and 20:00 seven days a week.

There are six categories of sticker colour, from green for the cleanest, through to dark grey for the most polluting.

  • Green – Crit’Air E (zero emissions – electric and hydrogen vehicles)

  • Purple – Crit’Air 1 (gas and rechargeable hybrid vehicles)

  • Yellow – Crit’Air 2

  • Orange – Crit’Air 3

  • Burgundy – Crit’Air 4

  • Dark Grey – Crit’Air 5 

Restrictions in Paris, notably, will be tightened in the decade ahead to achieve the goal of 100% clean vehicles by 2030 in the capital.

According to Santé publique France, air pollution is responsible for 48,000 premature deaths in France every year.

Related articles

Air pollution: More car bans coming in urban France 

Nice, Cannes and nearby towns bring in Crit'Air pollution car stickers 

France ramps up local air pollution restrictions

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now