• Riviera Insider editorial

New: Environmental badge required for motorists on the Côte d'Azur

Due to rising smog and dangerous ozone levels, the Alpes-Maritimes has instated a mandatory environmental badge for the windscreen, effective immediately.

In order to counteract heavy air pollution to which people on the Côte d'Azur (Departement Alpes-Maritimes) are repeatedly exposed, drivers will be required to display an environmental badge in six cities from now on:

  • Nice

  • Cannes

  • Antibes

  • Vallauris

  • Cagnes-sur-Mer

  • Saint-Laurent-du-Var

When the air is particularly bad in the region, when particulate matter or ozone levels exceed a certain value, only vehicles with a corresponding environmental sticker on their windscreen will be allowed to drive through the six most polluted cities of the Côte d'Azur. The "differentiated traffic" is already common practice in big cities like Paris or Marseille.

This is what the new French environmental badges for the windscreen look like

Motorists are now requested to order the required "Crit'Air" sticker online (cost: 3.67 euros including shipping within France), effective immediately. Those who cannot show the sticker will no longer be allowed to drive their car during severe air pollution days in the six cities mentioned.

The website is offered in English ( plus Spanish, German and Italian) and applies to all vehicles, including those registered abroad. There is a questionnaire based on the information on your car's registration form.

When a pollution warning is given

Only vehicles equipped with vignettes numbered 1, 2 or 3 (purple, yellow, orange) and electric or hydrogen vehicles (green) will be allowed to drive in these municipalities during periods of heavy pollution. Vehicles with category 4 and 5 stickers ( burgundy, grey) - especially diesel vehicles first registered before 2006, or non-classified vehicles such as vintage cars, are obliged to remain stationary between 6 am and 8 pm.

The map gives an overview of the concentration levels of the main air pollutants in the Alpes-Maritimes department for 2019. The route of the A8 motorway is clearly visible in red. In addition, the red colour, which stands for poor air quality, is concentrated on the six centres of population where the sticker will be required in the future.

37 per cent of residents are exposed to ozone

The consequences of air pollution vary depending on the season. In winter, people are affected by particulate matter, in summer by ozone. According to the Prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes, 37 per cent of the inhabitants are regularly exposed to high levels of ozone. 40 percent of fine dust particles are emitted by road traffic and 34 percent by household heating. The pollutants can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, as well as aggravation of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Speed limit lowered

In the case of extreme pollution, the prefecture will, among other immediate measures, reduce speeds by 20 km/h below the maximum permitted speeds and limit the passage of transit trucks.

What is the current state of the air?

The site of the organisation "Atmo Sud" monitors the air in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) region. The daily situation for each individual location can be viewed there.

Get the app for European environmental zones

The "Green-Zones" app helps to keep track of more than 200 environmental zones in Europe. It provides answers to questions such as: Where are there driving bans? Am I affected? When am I allowed to drive and when not? What kind of fines do I have to pay? Is my hotel in an environmental zone? Where can I still drive with my old vehicle? What is the air quality like in my city?

For more information on the certificate and the regulations, visit the ministry website:


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