All Drone Laws in France in 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

drone laws by country updated map

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

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

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All Drone Laws in France in 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

Table of Contents

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 

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:

  • ambulance icon
    Don't interfere with emergency situations
  • plane icon
    No flying near airports
    Clear immediately on spotting a manned aircraft.
  • crowd icon
    Don't fly over crowds
    Respect people's privacy and keep off large congregations of people.
  • height icon
    Height limit of 150m
    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.
  • moon day icon night flying
    No night flying
  • weight icon 500g
    Drone shouldn't exceed 25kg

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Here are the rules governing recreational drones in France

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:

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.

Is my foreign drone license recognized in France?

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

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. 

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)

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

DISAdvantages

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

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

DISAdvantages

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:

romania flying map dji