Changes to “Blue Zone” Parking Rules and Parking Discs
Yet another change to traffic regulations in 2012 has seen the introduction of a new style of parking disc in France to replace the old version from January 1st.
“Blue Zones” are designated parking areas in towns where you can park for free, but only for a certain period of time. It is compulsory to display a “parking disc” to show your arrival time – failure to do so may result in a fixed parking fine.
Until January 1st 2012 in France the permitted length of time you could park in “Blue Zones” had universally been fixed at a maximum of one and a half hours, and parking discs had two windows showing the arrival and departure time.
The new discs, however, have one window to show the arrival time only, the permitted period for parking now being decided by the individual town or commune and displayed on a sign in the parking zone – it could be any period, longer or shorter than the old convention of one-and-a-half hours.
The new parking disc can be bought from newsagents (“maisons de presse”) or tobacconists (“tabacs”) and the price is generally under 5 euros. Failure to use the new version of the disc will result in a standard 17€ parking fine.
The European version of the parking disc, similar to the French but oblong, is also now legal in France.
Where to use a parking disc
Blue parking zones are usually indicated by a sign similar to the one shown here – note the little B&W cryptogram of the parking disc in the bottom corner. Unless an additional sign says otherwise, the time when you have to display a blue zone disc is Monday to Saturday (Sundays are exempt) between 9am and 6pm.
If an additional sign specifies days of the week, a period of the month, different hours etc., then those apply instead of the general rule.
Sometimes there may be dates shown in the blue part of the circle – these indicate specific dates on which the restrictions apply (see example at end of article).
In this example on the left, the restrictions apply Monday to Friday from 9am to midday and from 2pm to 7pm, and on Saturday from 9am to midday. They do not apply on Sundays, holidays or during August. The period you’re allowed to park here is specified as 1.5 hours.
Another sign you may see to indicate a Blue Parking Zone is this blue one. In this example the disc must be displayed from Monday to Saturday between 8am and 7pm and parking is limited to 10 minutes.
Don’t confuse disc parking zone signs with the similar signs for “No Parking”! The disc zones have a B&W cryptogram of a disc in the bottom corner.