Parking in France

Rules and regulations regarding parking on streets and car parks in France...

Parking in France is strictly regulated in towns and urban areas. In areas marked Payant, you will need to buy a parking ticket to display inside the windshield and it is generally restricted to 2 hours. Parking in these areas is often free between 12:00 and 14:00 and after 19:00 and on Sundays. The French word for parking is stationnement, the word parking actually means car park.

Parking more than 24 hours in the same place is forbidden (unless it is a long-term parking facility). It is also forbidden to park in front of a fire hydrant, and on roads with a yellow curb.

Pay-parking meters may operate with a parking card, which can be bought at a tobacconist (Tabac). It is also possible to pay for parking in some zones via SMS. This will be clearly indicated on parking meters in zones marked payant.

Some towns have blue zones (zone bleue)  where parking may be free for one hour at certain times of the day. In order to park there you will need to display a parking disc in the windscreen. Check with the local town hall for more information about these zones and how to get a parking disc.

Parking fines in France

Since 1 January 2018 motorists who do not pay their parking in zones marked 'payant' will pay a fine which varies from one municipality to another, unlike before where the fine was 17 euros. This new system is called a forfait de post-stationnement, or a 'post-parking fee' and it can not be higher than the rate applicable in the area concerned in case of immediate payment for the maximum duration of parking.

The amount that must be paid is either left as a fine on your windshield, or will be sent to the address that is on the vehicle's registration document. This fine must be paid in full within 3 months.

Fines can be paid by cheque or with a timbre which is available from a tobacconist (Tabac). Post the slip with the fine and keep a receipt as proof of payment. It can also be paid online.

The Service Public website has more information on parking fines that may apply.

Parking for the disabled

Cars parked in spaces marked for people with disabilities must display the EU parking badge in the window. The EU parking card is a standardised European Community disabled person's parking permit which provides parking entitlements to badge holders in all complying European countries - a card issued in one country is valid in another.

  • Spaces in car parks reserved for people with disabilities are marked with a wheelchair symbol
  • In many areas, drivers with disabilities may park without time restrictions on roads where parking is free but has parking time limits

To get a disabled parking card in France, you need to apply for a carte mobilité inclusion – CMI. Information on how to get this card can be found in the section People with Disabilities in France.

Parking in Paris

  • Paris residents parking permit: Reduced parking is permitted to residents of an area who have a vignette de stationnement résidentiel, which is available from the local town hall or Mairie
  • Pre-booked parking is available with Parkings de Paris which lists all car parks in Paris, searchable by arrondissement (in English). Parkings de Paris published handbook is available in French, English and German (can be bought online)