Drone Laws in France (Updated for 2020)

france-drone-laws
height flight limit

150m max height

can't fly over crowds of people

Don't fly over crowds

plane icon white

Don't fly near airports

Insurance

All Drone Laws in France in 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

This post gives an overview of the rules for domestic and commercial drone use in France. Remember drone rules in most European countries undergo periodic review so we try to ensure our review is up to date as promptly as they occur. This article is frequently updated and is a summary of what we consider as our opinion based on the existing legal framework on the subject. Do not hesitate to carry out your own research afterward.



Can I fly my drone in France?

France operates a detailed drone flight map (GEOPortail) aimed for recreational drone users. The map has a multi-colored scheme with each color representing different regulations. Colors are pink, yellow, orange and red. 

The scope of the flight map does not cover National Parks, in that case, you must seek clarification from the authority concerned.

Take care not to fly over private land and buildings unless you have express authorization from the owner. 

Who do I contact?

The body responsible for the regulation and policy framework on drones is the French Civil Aviation Authority alongside the Ministry of Ecological & Solidarity Transition. Working in close cooperation they have created a portal for all drone users called AlphaTango.

The contact information is divided into two and is stated below:

Professional drone pilots contact

Hobbyists email: conseilpourlesdronescivils-bf@aviation-civile.gouv.fr 

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What are the drone laws in France?

According to French law, commercial and recreational drone users are not the same. Both groups of people are subjected to various restrictions and codes of conduct. As someone who intends to fly your drone for fun or competition, you are a recreational user.

Alternatively, users who use their drones to earn income or conduct research and tests are regarded as commercial users. The latter category fall are subjected to stricter scrutiny. 

The following are the recreational flight rules:

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Can I fly a drone in France without having it registered?

Yes. However, it must fall within the recreational drone category. Which means if you're making money with it you need to register it and only then.

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What happens if my drone isn’t licensed?

Yes. Flight in the first-person view is only allowed if there is another person who is on standby and ready to intervene should the need present itself.

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What is the penalty for committing a drone offense?

A judge will weigh the severity of your crimes then decide to:

  • 75,000 Franc
  • Years worth of imprisonment

Can I travel with my drone to France by Airplane?

Check beforehand with your airliner to ensure you have met their storage requirements on batteries.

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What are the restricted areas for flying drones in France?

When charting out a flight path or schedule, avoid anywhere close to:

  • nuclear power plants
  • Prisons
  • Hospitals
  • Emergency sites
  • Military zones

You are also not authorized to fly your drone close to:

  • Open-air concerts
  • Tour de France
  • French National Day celebrations
  • international summits
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What are the rules governing recreational drone use in France

If you fly your drone as a hobby or recreational sport, you do not need a license or permit. However, there are several factors that determine whether your drone falls under this category or not. If the drone falls below 800 g in weight, you are good to go.

Are there any exemptions to these rules?

If you are part of an aeromodelling clubs such as FFAM ou UFOLEP, you can be exempted.

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Here are the rules governing recreational drones in France

  • Do not fly over 150 meters when in an area that is not restricted. Countercheck with the GeoPortal app as some areas require you to fly much lower.
  • The flight should be during the day and within visual sight
  • Respect people’s privacy and keep off large congregations of people.
  • Clear immediately on spotting a manned aircraft.
  • The drone should not exceed 25 Kg.
  • Operate the drone after receiving liability insurance.
  • Keep off restricted areas
  • Avoid any emergency sites

What if my drone weighs over 800 g?

You can only operate this type of drone if you are over 14 years old. In several instances, an older person (18 years and above) should be holding the certificate. The drone must be equipped with:

  • Lighting system
  • Electronic positioning system
  • Height control system.
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What are the rules for flying a commercial drone in France?

The age minimum is 16 years and you must have the drone registered and acquired a license to fly.

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Is my foreign drone license recognized in France?

Yes. Provided you present a translated version of the document, all is set.

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How do I get a France license?

The France drone pilot license comprises of a technical and practical component. You can check out some of the accredited institutions which offer the best technical courses. Here are some of the practice questions for the test, in French 

Those who held ULM licenses can upgrade to have them valid for commercial use after changes were made in July 2018.

 

The practical part of the test can be administered in the following accredited institutions. The course will cost 2000 euros and a week to complete. 

 

Can I fly a drone at night?

Night flights are permissible provided your drone adheres to all aerial visual and aerial lighting requirements. A special 30-day permit is required.

This class of drones is that which exceeds the visual line of sight of the pilot. Legally, this category are regarded as civilian aircraft. In that case, any user must have a pilot license. 

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What are my top drones to fly safely in France?

My following two recommendations are 2 great compact drones that are quite silent and also small enough to travel with and not stand out as annoying.

1.Dji Mavic Mini - The best international travel drone (under 250g)

 2.7k

30min battery

4km

No follow me

DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is half of the weight required for registering in Austria in the first place.

 

I have covered it much more in depth in my article review and even compared it with the DJI Spark and Mavic Air.

Advantages

  • 30 min battery life
  • under 250g
  • super portable
  • 4km range
  • can edit videos in the app

DISAdvantages

  • no obstacle avoidance
  • no settings for iso and shutter speed

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

4k 60fps

34min battery

9km

Follow + obstacle avoidance

mavic air 2 package fly more combo
If you want more control over things like shutter speed, iso and such, the best professional drone that still falls under the 500g category is the DJI Mavic Air.
 
It's made mostly for people who want to play around with settings and enter into the pro category.
 

 

DJI lowered it's price since it was first released.

Advantages

  • 3 way sensors
  • 68kph (fastest among the 3)
  • follow me mode(quite a few options)
  • 8gb internal storage
  • ISo & shutter speed settings
  • 6 photo modes
  • takes RAW photos
  • 100mbps bitrate

DISAdvantages

  • battery life ins't that amazing
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Restricted Areas and Geofencing (drone FLying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, while you're in Romania is by consulting DJI offilicial map.
They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

  • airports
  • military bases
  • prisons
  • power plants
  • any high risk areas
romania flying map dji
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Make money with your drone

  • Only if you're serious
  • No experience required
  • I make up to 200$/h after it
  • Yes, it's a course
  • Yes, It's the best I know
  • Everything from A to Z
how-to-make-money-with-drones

How do you make money with your drone, though?

Okay, so you got your new and fancy drone, but how do you stand out from any dad out there who has the same drone and watched some tutorials online?

I did exactly that and barely had any success. 

But now I’m charging 5x as much as before and even have to refuse clients from time to time.

I even bought about 7 online courses… and I didn’t make much progress.

So how did I finally make it to this level?

If you want the short answer, I learned everything from this guy Alex, who’s making $200 per hour with his drone. And he’s even teaching exactly how to do that.

This is pretty much what you need to know:

how-to-make-money-with-drones

1. Make sure you have a proper drone.

If you have any of the latest DJI Drones, like the Mavic Air 2, for example, you’re ready to start making money.

No need to overthink this, but if it’s any help, check this comparison of the best camera drones compared in 2020.

types of drones

2.Learn how to create the best content to stand out

You won’t stand out from the next dad who bought a DJI drone for Cristmass in the eyes of your clients if you don’t do this.

It’s WAY more important to know what you’re doing than the gear you have.

You’ll need to learn and master the following:

  1.  
  • Flying your drone(to stand out from people with basic drone shots)
  • Preparing for the flight and weather in advance
  • Learn the best drone settings (you need a proper setup template)
  • Create the Video Script (it's way easier if you know what to shoot)
  • Have a set of great cinematic shots you know how to do
  • Know how to edit the video so it stands out
  • Learn how to color grade

This is why you HAVE to invest in a proper way to learn things (instead of watching tutorials here and there).

3.Find clients that pay 5x more than regular

But not so fast.

You won’t make a penny if you don’t know how to find your clients.

I have struggled finding clients even when my videos were getting pretty good.

Until I learned a few tricks and how to find and approach them so they won’t be able to say no.

And what’s best, I learned how to get the price I asked for.

How can you do the same?

I have tested quite a few courses online and watched tons of videos on youtube, but frankly, I have learned more from one single course than from everything else… and all that in like a weekend.

Made back the money from this investment in myself in a single week and then much more.

 

How do I learn all of this? From youtube?

You could simply go online and learn everything in terms of video from youtube, forums, facebook groups etc.

However, let me tell you, it’s the worst way to learn all of this(and the slowest).

You won’t have a Complete Step By step guide on how to do everything.

I found myself frustrated, even after I learned how to do most of the video stuff that I still lacked some knowledge and I didn’t know why my shots weren’t standing out.

I got some general promotion ideas from some articles online, but again… I didn’t have much success and was charging too little for my time.

This is exactly where I learned how to make $200 per hour with my drone (From A to Z)

This course is hold by Alex Harris, who’s an international video creator, director, and drone operator with tons of experience.

And I had a great time stealing his know-how(and greatly profited from it, lol).

I recommend you watch his video presentation bellow and check out the course sales page. It’s quite cheap, considering you’re getting 320+ minutes of everything you need to know, step by step and 80+ minutes on how to actually find the ideal clients for you.

I'm a big drone enthusiast, the owner of DronesGator.com and I also make weekly videos on my drone YouTube channel.

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