Living Better in Paris

Car Towed in Paris: How to Recover Your Ride

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We all make the mistake of parking incorrectly. If your vehicle has been towed in Paris, retrieve it as soon as possible because those fines increase daily. In some more serious cases, a towed car may result in loss of license points. There is no time to lose!

Why was my car towed?
Here are some examples of why your vehicle might have been towed in Paris.

  • Incorrect or dangerous parking
  • Parking on a sidewalk
  • Parking in a reserved spot (i.e. handicap spaces)
  • Double parking
  • Blocking a garage or exit
  • More than 7 days in the same public spot
  • Obstructing visibility at an intersection

Caught in the act:
Keep in mind that fines fluctuate often and these amounts may rise according to the Commissariat de Paris.

  • If the tow truck has not arrived yet, you have the legal right to prevent the tow. However, be prepared to pay 35€ in cash to the officer to cover the inital tow expense.
  • If a wheel boot has been attached to one of the tires, you'll be fined an additional 7.60€ (35€ + 7.60€ = 42.60€).
  • If the tow truck has just arrived, you will be charged 126€ in lieu of the other fines.
  • Once the tow is in process, don't even think about stopping it. Doing so may result in 3 months imprisonment, a fine of 3,750€ (!) and loss of points on your license.

At the moment of the towing, an agent will fill out a detailed description (otherwise known as expertise) of your vehicle, so that you may confirm whether or not damage was inflicted by the tow service.

Costs to recover your vehicle (as of 2016):

  • Wheel boot / immobilisation matérielle : 7.60€
  • Pre-operation / Opérations préalables : 15.20€
  • Towing / Enlèvement : 150€
  • First day / Premièr jour : 179€
  • Impound fine (per day) / Garde journalière : 29€
  • Expertise : 61€

Getting your vehicle back:

  1. If your car is no longer stationed where you left it, call the police immediately to verify that it was legally removed (and not stolen). You can also enter your registration number here  to check if your vehicle been towed. To determine your vehicle's current location, dial the number of the municipal police to confirm the location by its registration number. French law obligates tow services to provide the reason for towing, the vehicle's whereabouts, and how to retrieve it via certified letter within 5 business days of the towing. If you registered your vehicle in France and your car was towed in Paris, you can also check online at
  2. Before heading to the tow lot, you must first obtain an autorisation de restitution from a police station or a municipal police post. You'll be required to show four documents to pick up your car: proof of identity, the vehicle's registration, and beginning the 1st of December, 2016, your driver's license and auto insurance.
  3. Rush to the tow lot as soon as you receive the autorisation de restitution. The total fine depends on your speediness!
  4. Examine your car for damages before leaving the lot and take pictures for proof, if necessary. If you spot any impairments, the tow service will be responsible for the repairs. To contest damages, contact the officier de ministère de public.
  5. If you believe your car was towed unlawfully, contact the contact the Commissariat of the arrondissement where your car was removed of the arrondisement where your car was removed.

Good luck!

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Photo Credits to @DirectAuto