Drone Laws in France
A list of drone regulations and links for drone pilots in France.
France Drone Regulations
According to France’s national aviation authority, the French Civil Aviation Authority, flying a drone is legal in France, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.
If you’d like to contact the French Civil Aviation Authority directly before you travel with any questions you might have, message them on Twitter: @DGAC
Why fly a drone in France? To get great aerial shots like these!
General Rules for Flying a Drone Within the European Union
France is a part of the European Union and therefore must abide by the drone regulations put in place by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In addition to these regulations, France also has regulations that are country-specific.
Based on our research and interpretation of the laws, here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone within the European Union.
There are three operational categories that determine drone regulations based on the weight of the drone and the intended operation. This section will only cover the Open Category, to see all European Union laws and categories, click here.
A drone can be operated in the “Open “category if:
- The drone has one of the class identification labels 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4.
- The drone was purchased before 1 January 2023, with no class identification label as above.
- The drone has a maximum take-off mass of less than 25 kg (55 lbs).
- The remote pilot keeps the drone at a safe distance away from people.
- The drone will not be operated directly over people unless it has a class identification label or is lighter than 250 g (0.55 lbs). (Please refer to subcategories of operations: A1, A2, and A3 to find out where you can fly with your drone).
- The remote pilot will maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) or the remote pilot will be assisted by a UA observer.
- The remote pilot will not operate the drone above 120m (400ft).
- The drone will not carry any dangerous goods and will not drop any material.
General Rules for Flying a Drone in France
Based on our research and interpretation of the laws, here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in France.
- All drones of 800g or more must be registered by their owner on AlphaTango, the public portal for users of remotely piloted aircraft. The drone then receives a registration number that must be affixed permanently, visibly, on the drone and must allow reading at a distance of 30 centimeters, with the naked eye. The drone pilot must be able to provide proof of registration in the event of a check.
- Drone pilots must maintain a line of sight with their drones at all times. If a visual observer is tracking the drone, the pilot may fly out of his or her own range of sight.
- Drones may not be flown at night (unless with special authorization from the local prefect).
- Drones may not be flown over people; over airports or airfields; over private property (unless with owner’s authorization); over military installations, prisons, nuclear power plants, historical monuments, or national parks. Use this map to locate flight restrictions by geolocation.
- Drones may also not be flown over ongoing fires, accident zones, or around emergency services.
- Drones may not be flown above 150 meters (492 feet), or higher than 50 meters (164 feet) above any object or building that is 100 meters (328 feet) or more in height.
Rules for Flying a Drone Commercially in France
Based on our research, here are the additional requirements to fly a drone commercially in France.
- Drone pilots who fly for purposes other than leisure (commercial drone pilots) must pass a theoretical exam. The exam can be taken online or at specified DSAC facilities. Procedures for taking this exam are described on this page. Upon passing the exam, the pilot will receive a theoretical telepilote certificate. The pilot must have this printed and with them during all flights.
- Commercial drone pilots must also undergo basic practical training. The operator must define and provide the necessary additional training, taking into account the types of aircraft they use and the specific activities they perform. At the end of the training, the training organizations will provide the telepilots with a training follow-up certificate for the corresponding scenarios.
- A drone pilot cannot provide his own practical training.
Rules for Flying a Drone for Recreation in France
Based on our research, here are the additional requirements to fly a drone for recreation in France.
- Drone pilots who fly for leisure or recreation only do not need a training certificate when their drone’s mass is less than 800 grams.
- Drone pilots operating a remotely piloted aircraft of 800g or more for recreational purposes must undergo training. This training can be: (1) the Fox AlphaTango training offered by the DGAC or (2) training provided by the FFAM or UFOLEP recognized as equivalent by the DGAC.
For more information on France’s drone laws, see this page on the French Civil Aviation Authority website as well as this detailed legal report.
Know something we don’t about drone laws in France? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We are not international aviation attorneys and do our best to keep this page up-to-date for drone pilots, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how governments are responding, drone regulations in France can change throughout the year, and those changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in France? Here you go: