Driving in Paris, yes is possible!!!

I have written a post on driving in Paris several years back, and believe me, its time to updated it, text and links. So, of course, this will be in my black and white series; hope you enjoy it. This is a big question asked by many and many have asked me about it, To undertand them, if you read the media and travel guides, the first thing is don’t drive in Paris ; this is misleading, I drive to and in Paris many times but I planned my trips so the walking does the most with a very well place underground garage or above street ,its very doable, Let me tell you a bit about driving in Paris, yes is possible !!!

I used to worked in Paris and did it for 9 years. At first ,I took the suburban trains to Gare Saint Lazare and the Metro Concorde. As time went on , was really tired of the sardines ambiance underground and sad long passageways and people pushing around just to get in first. I asked for a way to walk, and surprise find out it took me 18 minutes on the metro rides and underground walks and the same time just walking straight out of Saint Lazare !

And of course, what better way to go to work than passing by the Grand Magasins and the Church of the Madeleine and going around it and forward into rue Faubourg Sainte Honoré /rue Sainte Honoré ! and into  rue Cambron and then ,rue de Mont-Thabor and into rue Castiglione ,just glorious route on foot; never again in metro. Then, had to come to Paris for meeting friends and others zombies of the night scene and darn those public transport quit at 12h47 at the time, so how to get back home!!!  The car, always the old reliable car, and an American friend living in Paris, remind me about we are use to drive coming from the USA. So, I tried the car to Châtelet to meet some friends at a brasserie; and that was the last time came on public transport to Paris, almost 9 years of car driving. And now since 2011, visiting by car and love it as well.

The Greater Paris Metropolis must respond to a health and climate emergency. In 2019, Airparif, the Association Agréée pour la Surveillance de la Qualité de l’Air (AASQA) in Île-de-France, estimated that 400,000 metropolitan residents breathe highly polluted air exceeding the annual limit value for nitrogen (NO2). 17 days of air pollution episodes were observed in the Metropolis in 2019. The Greater Paris Metropolis has validated a strategy with the Metropolitan Air Energy Climate Plan definitively adopted by the Metropolitan Council on November 12, 2018. Reclaiming air quality is one of the priorities. To achieve this, the establishment of a metropolitan low-emission zone (ZFE) was assessed as part of the Île-de-France Atmosphere Protection Plan as having the greatest impact, with quick on improving air quality. the Low Emissions Zone (ZFE), such as there are nearly 250 in Europe and in other cities around the world (ADEME Report – Sept. 2020), aims to limit the access of the most polluting vehicles in the center of urban areas. it is recognized as particularly effective in reducing pollutant emissions from road traffic, the car being one of the main sources of pollution in cities. The airparis pollution rating daily hit the map webpage: https://www.airparif.asso.fr/surveiller-la-pollution/la-prevision

The mayor of Paris, Anne (Ana) Hidalgo a native of San Fernando, (Cadiz province), Spain is trying to overhaul all that is Paris with these laws , However, surprise she is going for election as President of France and now says need to find a way to accommodate car drivers lol ! Politician will get rid of the best always, The movement to minimize cars in Paris started out with fines for the type of car that will be allowed into Paris, For coming you need a sticker (vignettes) showing the pollution potential in your car from 5 to 1 and then electric. Any day in weekday or working days from 8h to 20h you have to see the year of your car and when can you come to Paris. The entrance into these zones or This rules started on January 15, 2017, and are part of the (ZFE) zones de faible emission or low emission zones, The trend is to continue to finally phase out cars from Paris by 2030. 79 towns located in the A86, have Crit Air July 4, 2022 crit air 3, January 2024 crit air 2, 2030 objective of 100% clean vehicles. My car still is crit air 2 and have the vignette ! This is obtained for 3,67€ post covered at the government webpage : https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/

All transport professionals, taxis, vtc and motorcycle taxis must also order the anti-pollution sticker, Moving in a low-emission mobility zone (ZFE-m) with an unauthorized vehicle or without a Crit’Air sticker is sanctioned by a fine of up to 375€ for heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches and 180€ for other vehicles. The city of Paris on the ZFE zones: https://www.paris.fr/pages/la-zone-a-faibles-emissions-zfe-pour-lutter-contre-la-pollution-de-l-air-16799

And some new stuff ,since August 2, 2021, inter-line traffic is again authorized for motorcycles and scooters in 21 departments in France thanks to a new experiment. Meaning motos can weave in and out between cars and passed on same lane! Great ,very dangerous but this does not make money!! Other goodies, Autoroutes/highways toll tariffs increase by 0.30% to 0.65% on average from February 1, 2021. The average increase in these tariffs amounts to 0.44% across all operating companies. from the highway/motorway network. In the event of on-site repair (including a return trip for the professional and a repair lasting a maximum of 30 minutes), you must now pay 132.70 euros vs 131.94 previously. For breakdown assistance requiring towing (to a rest area or service area, to the repairer’s workshop or to a location chosen by the motorist), this price varies according to the weight of the vehicle: 132.70 euros for vehicles weighing less than or equal to 1.8 tonnes; 164.09 euros for vehicles with a total weight greater than 1.8 tonnes and less than 3.5 tonnes.

What to do from all this, more savvy drivers, planning ahead, I do it all the time; don’t leave home without planning your routes for all potential issues and where to go for help, A wise and responsible driver should always take the time to check many parameters before setting off on the road. Also, while it is important to control the weather conditions to avoid unpleasant surprises, it is also imperative to prepare your route and calculate your travel time. This will save you the stress of not knowing which road or lane to take to get to your destination. GPS can sometimes mislead us or change our route at the last moment; yes indeed especially out in the countryside, In this case, the situation can very quickly become oppressive. To avoid this kind of inconvenience, take the time to examine a paper map beforehand and write down your journey. For all new trips to new areas I still do this and believe me! You will find better routings too!

Do not hesitate to search the Internet for the car park closest to your point of arrival. you can enjoy a price reduction of up to -70%. A significant advantage, while parking spaces in Paris and other major cities are becoming increasingly rare and more and more expensive … In the city limits, all street parking is payable Monday through Saturday from 9h to 20h, and you pay per hour. Sundays and public holidays are free parking days. You ,also, can escape at lunch time usually between 12h and 14h, When you find a parking place, you’ll have to go to the nearest kiosk to pay. The kiosks are usually located on every block, and you need to enter your license plate nulber, so be sure to have that handy ,Once you’ve paid and got your ticket, you’ll need to display it on the car dashboard. In Paris, you’re meant to leave the proof of parking on your dashboard. If you don’t pay, you risk a fine or fine of 35€, and if you park in a delivery or unauthorized space, your car will be towed and impounded. You can easily find a parking garage in almost every Parisian neighborhood. Indigo parkings (best) is the most common, but there are often several options around major sights and monuments, such as the Louvre. You can find your parking on this do it all onepark webpage : https://www.onepark.fr/places/151-parking-paris-tous-les-parkings

If you’re planning to drive into the Paris from another country or from somewhere else in France, I recomend that you fill up your tank before entering the city. That’s because gas and diesel are WAY more expensive in the city. In Paris, or elsewhere, I usually go to Total Access, which is a large company with several stations around Paris, Just type Paris on the top left for those in Paris; webpage: https://services.totalenergies.fr/mes-deplacements/trouver-station

Remember, these additional points, not exhaustive but the most obvious ok, The right of way in France, and in Paris, you must always yield to vehicles on your right. This is known as priorité à droite in French. This means if you’re on a main boulevard, and another vehicle wants to enter your lane of traffic from a street on your right, you must yield to let them in , In Paris, the speed limit on large avenues and most boulevards is now 30km per hour (around 18 mph !!) and, there are reduced speed areas throughout the city. In Paris, you must stop at every red light, and you cannot turn either direction until the light turns green. Then you must yield to oncoming and through traffic. Roundabout or traffic circles are those huge places which connect multiple large boulevards and smaller streets. There’s usually a monument or large statue in the middle. You’ll find them all over Paris, but the most famous are Place de l’Etoile (around the Arc de Triomphe) Place de la Concorde, and Place de la Madeleine. You must yield to vehicles entering the roundabout. Be aware. Check your mirrors and blind spots CONSTANTLY, the traffic in Paris moves at lightning speed, and scooters are famous for darting through even the narrowest gaps here. Stay calm but confident. Drivers use their horns like extra punctuation in Paris, and you will hear them. Don’t let it throw you off.  You may even need to be a little pushy in order to exit the roundabout. This takes practice, and you can always go around again if you don’t make it the first time.

Although driving in Paris can be super convenient at times, I firmly believe that Paris is best explored on foot. Many lively areas of the city like the Rue Mouffetard, Rue Montorgeuil, and Rue Cler are always pedestrian-only. And on Sundays, many other parts of the city close to motor vehicles. Neighborhoods in Montmartre, near the Canal Saint-Martin and le Marais to name a few, are pedestrian friendly on Sundays. Of course, this will not have much of a different to visitors who use public transport most of the time, it will  just diminish eventually the activity of locals around Paris and will just move to other more friendlier cities. The exodus has begun to cities like Bordeaux and the countryside like around my area of Morbihan and even my little town has gained 5% population in last 5 yrs and the project is to reach 10K folks by 2025 ! More and more Parisiens around here lol! There are reports of 15% reduction in Paris, due to this and high real estate prices.

The Paris tourist office on driving in Paris: https://en.parisinfo.com/practical-paris/getting-to-paris/by-car

The Paris tourist office on renting a car in Paris, Auto Europe : https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/189246/Auto-Europe

You stay tune as Paris is changing in many ways hopefully not to be destroyed by politicians. I think Paris will win, its eternal. Happy motoring in my belle France, and the most beautiful city in the world, Paris!!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Driving in Paris, yes is possible!!!”

  1. Quite a few years ago, some friends and I did the ‘Nuits de Feux’ at Chantilly, followed by Versailles, followed by Paris. I think we almost went backwards on the Blvd Magenta. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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