Reims is one of the largest cities in France. It is known for its rich history and is home to many of the most important Champagne producers in the world. But to be able to truly explore the corners of the city, you need a way to get around at your own pace.
Driving into Reims can give you a firsthand experience of its renowned landmarks. Think Moët & Chandon cellars in the Champagne region, the Reims Cathedral, the Chateau-Thierry Monument, and more.
However, driving into Reims comes with some restrictions. And not all vehicles are allowed in some parts of the city. The French government imposes permanent emission regulations on some parts of the city.
Below, we will look into the know-how of driving into the city and its requirements. We will also go over some practical tips for driving, finding a rental car, and securing a parking spot in Reims.
Can You Drive Into Reims?
You can definitely drive into Reims. If you are driving into the city center from Paris, the distance is around 144 kilometers and you can expect to get there in about 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the traffic situation. That is longer than if you take the train or bus (45 minutes).
Fortunately, driving into the city is not at all boring. There are interesting spots you can stop at along the way, making the journey more enjoyable. But keep in mind that there are a few toll roads ahead.
If you are coming from Calais, it may take about 2 hours and 35 minutes, depending on the route you’ll take. The faster routes will typically require that you pay the toll fee.
Getting Around Reims by Car: Driving Tips
Reims is one of the largest cities in France. It is heavily visited and many tourists get around by either car, public, transportation, or on foot. But if you prefer to drive into or get around the city by car, you’ll want to be prepared for a smooth journey.
So first, find good routes. You can install a GPS on your phone or use Google Maps for this.
If you are driving into Reims from Paris, check for traffic situations. Paris can get hectic so make sure when it is the worst time to go down to Reims. Fridays are typically the busiest day of the week.
Before you drive into Reims, keep in mind that some parts of the city are Low Emission Zones (ZFEs). To be able to drive in the ZFE zones, your vehicle needs to have a green Crit’Air sticker or a sticker rated from 1 to 3. You can read about these stickers from our FAQs below.
Toll fees in Paris will cost you around 12€, while in Calais, it is even more expensive at 23€.
That said, there are also toll-free roads from Paris or Calais or wherever you come. They are a great option only IF you want to save money. Those roads will have you traveling up to 4 hours—quite a long journey but toll-free.
If you see the marked road signs with ‘Péage,’ avoid those.
Car Rentals in Reims
Renting a car in Reims is a great way to truly explore the finest of the city. Car rental companies in the city offer a fleet of compact and convertible vehicles for different needs. Just be prepared for the added cost of the gas and toll fees.
If you visit Reims in the short term, you may opt for a compact sedan or a sports car. If you are driving with a group and you all want to do road trips, an SUV should get you around.
Before you drive around, you may also want to secure insurance. You’ll never know when something might happen. If you’re going on a long-term stay in Reims, opt for cars that you can rent weekly since they are usually cheaper than daily ones.
But whichever vehicle you pick, make sure to pick green-only vehicles or those that use biofuel to be entitled to 1 to 3 Crit’Air stickers.
Another thing to keep in mind driving bans are stricter for light commercial vehicles and those weighing over 7,700 lbs.
Do I Need a Clean Air Sticker in Reims?
Reims is a low emission zone (LEZ). You are required to secure a Certificats qualité de l’air (air quality certificates) or a Crit’Air sticker. This is a mandatory requirement for all French and foreign vehicles. All vehicles registered in France will pay 3.72€.
For vehicles registered abroad, you can get LEZ stickers for 4.61€ in Reims. You can buy the stickers from www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/demande in English, French, Spanish, or German.
Crit’Air stickers come in 6 different colors, with each type determining a vehicle’s air pollutant emissions. The cleanest and most hydrogen vehicles will have green “0” stickers. The most polluting vehicles will be granted “5” Crit’Air stickers.
However, green-zones.eu, there is a permanent ban in the low-emission zones for vehicles with stickers 4 and 5, while those with fuel bioethanol E85 are not required to have a sticker. So, make sure to have stickers 1,2, or 3 displayed on your car’s windscreen.
Only vehicles that meet the required standard will be allowed into Reims. If you fail to comply, you may end up paying fines up to 180€.
This regulation is imposed in most of Europe, so plan ahead. But keep in mind that your sticker won’t be valid if you use it in another country in Europe. You may check the Urban Access Regulations for more information on Reims Low Emission Zone.
Where Is Reims Low Emission Zone?
Low-emission zones in Reims include Victor Hugo, Boulevards Lundy, Victor Lambert, Dieu-Lumière, and de la Paix. It also includes the southern area of the A344 Voie Jean motorway and Avenue Nicéphore Niépce.
If you get lost, look for a red circle with a sign Zones à Circulation Restreinte or restricted zone. But keep in mind that the marked signs do not indicate which vehicles are allowed and not allowed for entry.
Can I Drive in France Without a Crit Air Sticker?
There are some exceptions. Vehicles that drive into Reims with fuel bioethanol E85 do not need stickers. However, it is highly recommended that you plan ahead and secure one. The Crit’Air vignettes indicate your vehicle’s EURO standards.
Where Can I Park Overnight in Reims?
Parking in Reims can be a challenge. It is both hard and expensive to find a parking space. However, you can book in advance. You can park your car in Bezannes, Courlancy, and Les Bleuets. These are park-and-ride facilities when you enter the city.
Another option is to park at one of the many Reims hotels – if you’re staying overnight, book a hotel with parking.
But before you book, check the schedule for the availability of the parking spots. From one of those parking facilities, you may take public transport. Or if you want, you can explore the city on foot.
You can also find a self-catering apartment with parking so it will be less hassle.
To Sum It Up…
It is definitely doable to drive into Reims. However, you comply with the French government’s requirements for the Low Emission Zones. Plan your trip ahead so you can avoid any hassle. And of course, don’t forget to enjoy the scenes at stops along the way!
We hope you’ve found this post helpful in planning your trip to Reims. If you have more questions about driving into Reims, let us know and we will be more than happy to help. Thanks for reading!