Drone regulations in France

Flying drones in France

France is a multifaceted country that has many stunning locations for aerial images. In this post, you will learn about the rules you need to consider as a drone pilot in France.

The EU Drone Regulation has been in force in France since December 31, 2020. This has largely harmonized the rules for remote pilots. You only have to register as an operator in one European country and your EU drone license is also recognized across countries. France had already introduced new rules a few months earlier, setting the course for implementation of the EU regulations.

The AlphaTango portal, where drone operators can register, has already been introduced.

Overview of the European rules that apply in France

In France, the regulations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) apply. The following is a summary of the key facts. For a complete overview, read our article on the new EU drone regulation.

Is registration necessary? Registration is mandatory for all drone operators, unless the drone weighs less than 250 grams and is NOT equipped with sensors to collect personal data (e.g. camera, microphone). Drones that fall under the EU Toys Directive are also exempt. The registration is recognized in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
LabelsAll drones must be visibly marked with the individual registration number (e-ID). If available, the number must also be loaded into the drones remote identification system. More info on drone badges
Drone licence:Depending on the category, pilots must take exams to obtain the EU drone licence. These are recognised in all countries that have also introduced the EU Drone Regulation.
Differentiation by category: Open Category (with three subcategories), Specific Category and Certified Category; no distinction between private and commercial pilots.
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter in uncontrolled airspace in Open Category.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people

National peculiarities in France

Each country can define certain aspects of its drone regulations. For France, the following requirements apply in addition to the European regulations.

Is drone insurance mandatory? No, but it's recommended. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Minimum age for remote pilots14 years

Remote ID

From 29 June 2020, drones weighing 800 grams or more must be equipped with a signaling device. It transmits the drone’s identification and information on the current flight (coordinates, speed, course) at regular intervals by radio signal (WIFI). The identification is stored at AlphaTango so that the authorities have access to it. The penalty for not having a signaling device starts at 135 euros. Exceptions are made for model and sports pilots and unmanned flight systems that are only used indoors.

In the meantime, DJI has released an update for some drone models that enables remote identification in compliance with the law. To do so, the devices must be updated via the DJI GO 4 app or DJI Assistant 2. On AlphaTango, the identification number consisting of 1581E and the serial number of the controller can then be entered. According to the blog of the electronics chain Studiosport, the update is currently available for DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom, DJI Matrice 300, DJI Phantom Pro 4 V2.0 and Pro + V2.0. It is expected that it will also be available for the following models: DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom, DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, DJI Phantom 4 RTK, DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral, DJI Matrice 200 V2, DJI Matrice 210 V2, DJI Matrice 210 V2 RTK.

Permission to take aerial photographs

Another peculiarity in France is that remote pilots must submit a form if they want to take aerial photographs. All drone pilots (private and commercial) must fill out this document if they want to take pictures or videos of the light spectrum visible to humans. So this rule applies to owners of pretty much all camera drones.

To get permission, fill out the CERFA-12546 form. If you are a foreigner, send the document to the Direction de la sécurité de l’aviation civile (DSAC) Northern Office at least 15 days before the intended flight. Please also submit your EU drone licence and identity card. The permit is valid for three years.

You can find the form and the necessary contact details here.

It is advisable to carry proof that you have sent the form. Apparently, the presence of the document is sometimes checked by the gendarmerie.

Further rules for the operation of drones in France

Pilot licenses can be obtained in the AlphaTango portal.

A flight ban on drones applies in the entire metropolitan area of Paris. In other cities, too, you are only allowed to fly your drone on private property. In addition, drones cannot be used near nuclear power plants, military facilities, historical monuments, or in national parks. You can see no-fly zones in the map linked above. The colors have the following meaning:

  • Red: drones are not allowed to fly
  • Pink: Maximum flight altitude of 30 meters
  • Orange: Maximum flight altitude of 50 meters (with a lighter shade of orange 60 meters)
  • Yellow: Maximum altitude of 100 meters

Good to know

The rules listed here also apply to the overseas territory of French Polynesia.

Frequency determinations: 100 mW for the 2.4 GHz frequency

We have researched the listed drone regulations for France to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in France!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!


  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 02.08.2017

    Well, your understanding of French rules is not really clear.
    Many rules come both for private/leisure or pro/commercial flights.
    I can send you a summary but you cancheck (in french) here : https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/drones-loisir-et-competition
    and full information there :

    • Nirjhar | 07.03.2019

      What about drones below 200mg weight?

      • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 12.03.2019

        Below .. 200 grs ?
        No declaration, no quizz, but same rules, forbidden in any public city area and all restricted/dangerous/prohibited areas also.

    • PETER DAPRIX | 05.06.2019

      And I have to admit my understanding of complicated rules is not clear either. I looked at the geoportail map and it is hard to read and seemingly very arbitrary. I use AirMap app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airmap.airmap&hl=en) in the US and it has all the various levels of controlled air space shown on very accurate maps globally. And you can drill down to individual streets and addresses. The area I want to fly is shown to be clear of restrictions for NO FLY but of course all the rules for flying drones recreationally are in place. Does anyone know if AirMap is more accurate and dependable than the very clunky Geoportail? I have to admit I am totally confused and people on the ground are no help.

  • Nicolas | 27.08.2017


    I m french, in France if you want to use your drone for hobby and recreational purpose the governement made a map to know where it is possible to use your drone or not :

    In red : no fly
    In pink : maximum altitude 30m
    In orange : maximum altitude 50m
    In yellow : maximum altitude 100m
    Otherwise : maximum altitude 150m

  • Herman | 04.03.2018

    Thanks for your info!
    I’m looking to commercially film holiday homes in Frances. As far as I understand, France doesn’t make a difference between recreational and commercial flights if within S1 limits, aka the safest and simplest flights. Would you have an indication to think differently?

  • Matti L | 19.01.2019

    I am planning to fly a drone here in France but I noticed there are just very few interesting places allowed to fly. Do you know if there is a chance to ask a permission to fly for example in city area, and if so where I should apply such? Thank for your answers in advance.

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 23.01.2019

    Hi Matti,
    Zero chance to fly in a city area NOR a crowded area.
    Only professional drone pilots with french declaration and recording are allowed to under derogation to common use. And you have nearby ZERO chance to apply for french professional piloting …

  • Roger Morton | 07.03.2019


    By end of year traveling from Barcelona, Spain to Nice, France. Any suggestions for some drone filming and pictures in cote d’azurr?

    I was thinking near Cap Camarat or Etang de Leucate area. Also when crossing border from Spain to France in Le Perthus, to take some images of the Fort Bellegarde. Or any better suggestions. Not very crowded so to not have complains from people about privacy or which don´t like drones.

    I can fly also in Ccap d’antibes with maximum altitude of 50 meters?

    Thanks for any help or recommendations.

    • Simon Sutton | 23.03.2019

      Have a look at the attached link to map of restricted areas. https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/donnees/restrictions-pour-drones-de-loisir

      • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 27.03.2019

        Oh, this map …
        It’s supposed to give restrictions and free areas to fly.
        Very sadly, it’s full of mistakes, does not apply french rules for airports, invents non-existing limitations and forgive other ones …

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 12.03.2019

    Fort Bellegarde ok
    Etang de Leucate : take care, restricted area R73 and ULM base south of the lake.
    Cap Camarat : Should be ok but possibly crowdy
    Cap d’Antibes : forbidden
    Main part of Cote d’Azur is forbidden , restricted/forbidden, civilian or military areas, airport protections and crowdy areas, avoid.
    Only Cavalaire to St Tropez could fly but take care of crowdy areas and cities, also forbidden

    • Roger Morton | 12.03.2019

      Hi Hubert,

      Really thanks for the information. Much appreciated.

      Best Regards, Roger

  • PETER DAPRIX | 05.06.2019

    And I have to admit my understanding of complicated rules is not clear either. I looked at the geoportail map and it is hard to read and seemingly very arbitrary. I use AirMap app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airmap.airmap&hl=en) in the US and it has all the various levels of controlled air space shown on very accurate maps globally. And you can drill down to individual streets and addresses. The area I want to fly is shown to be clear of restrictions for NO FLY but of course all the rules for flying drones recreationally are in place. Does anyone know if AirMap is more accurate and dependable than the very clunky Geoportail? I have to admit I am totally confused and people on the ground are no help.

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 06.06.2019

    Hi Peter,
    Airmap is infortunately completely out for France. None of Airmap information match to drone regulations according neither to airports, neither to restricted areas ans cities … Geoportail is very far from perfection but it’s quite informative.
    You can have more clear infos on https://www.mach7drone.com/
    which is private/commercial website but much more easy to read and much more close to regulations than Geoportail, giving real clear and checked infos but not including city limits. Account mandatory, optionnal maps on billing.

    • PETER DAPRIX | 06.06.2019

      Thank you for this. I checked out Mach7drone and it is much better. But I could not find a “legend” explaining the terms being used. NO FLY is very clear but what does “Flight Constrained” actually mean in practice? Anyone know? Other than obey all the rules of flying and probably fly very low and stay out of the way of all the very low flying helicopters that definitely fly below the max limits for drones in France (and the US).

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 06.06.2019

    Have you signed in ? Not all informations are available and not shown the same way according you are signed in or not. And much more choices for chowing or not selected constraints.
    If you want precise info on a particular place, ask for it I’ll check for you.

  • Peter DAPRIX | 06.06.2019

    Good question. I thought I was but I was not. Now I am. I am seeing yellow, orange and red areas and a few green. But I cannot find a legend that tells me what they mean. I have to assume the red are no fly, the orange and yellow flight but with some restrictions. But what those restrictions are, I cannot tell. Any help would be very appreciated. I am looking around the St. Tropez area to see where I can fly or cannot fly, and if I can fly, under the orange or yellow what those restrictions are.

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 06.06.2019

    Well, DGAC (franch aviation regulator/operator) wrote a little guide, explaining, I’m afraid only in french.
    You can download it here :
    In this guide, check P 34 for surrounding of airmorts/runways/helistation/ etc
    If you click on the area with mach7, you’l have a precise height you could fly under.
    Also, if your bird exceeds 800 grs, you’re suposed to pass a little exam online and be able to show the pass certificate on police request …
    St Tropez is one of the worse area to fly a drone … according to the fact you’re not supposed to fly in crowdy areas (40 or more) neither in even little cities, added to all aeronautical restrictions ..
    Give precise coords to check

  • PETER DAPRIX | 06.06.2019

    Hubert, this is great information! Thank you. I tried the clicking on a place on the map where I know I want to fly and I am relieved to find that there is simply height limits, higher than I would plan on flying certainly. I don’t fly where there are people – ever! I also try to stay away from any close proximity to animals. Horses can be very sensitive to drone noise perhaps thinking they are a swarm of bees or wasps. Most pay no attention but some do. Some people object to the drone noise.
    I brought a Mavic Air which is 545 grams, well below the weight limit. I do have my 107 Drone Pilot License from the US which I hope would provide some evidence of competency and experience. I do fly professionally in the US but here I am on holiday and am enjoying flying for pleasure. The places I want to fly are not in the town of St. Tropez. Frankly that would be crazy and risky, but over private property outside of the town with large land expanse instead. It is also important to obey the privacy laws in France which are stricter than those in the US. Much to remember.

  • Hubert DURLEWANGER | 06.06.2019

    Yeah, nice for the Mavic Air.
    Seems the cape south of St Tropez is clear in low height.
    SAfe not to fly near horses and others, check seagulls very sensitive and they attack our birds …

  • PETER DAPRIX | 06.06.2019

    Thank you. That is very reassuring except for seagulls what for some reason feel they own the skies. I have had Condors, Hawks and large Black Birds circle around my P4Pro in California when I fly higher up to my maximum ceiling. They seem more curious that offended and have not attacked the drones I have had. But if they are defending their nest and their offspring, I think that could change. But we spend a lot of time worrying about the dangerous aspects of small AUV’s while large helicopters fall out of the sky over populated areas all the time and often fly very low. Also small private airplanes as well. How often do we hear of small drones falling and hurting someone? Very seldom. Especially the new generation of very small ones. But I am glad that there is an emphasis on safety since companies like DJI are selling thousands every year in most countries and pilots must be very aware of the dangers to others. Not just obeying rules and regulations but using common sense of safety in any one particular situation.

  • Ashwin | 05.08.2019

    Hey Francis I like to Can I use my dji mavic drone in normandy mont saint Michele

  • Tim | 10.09.2019

    Can anyone confirm what the rules are regarding sub 800 gram drones are (mavic air for example). Do we need to do a licence and have insurance? If so, what type? Some form of public liability?

  • Trevor | 01.07.2021

    If I’m alone in a open air field and I have my cheap drone I want to fly five feet above me for a single picture, is that ok? Is it just a grey area? Or will the French arrest me and my kids for taking a touristy shot in Paris? (-:

    • Drone Traveller Team | 01.08.2021

      Hi Trevor,
      There are exceptions from the rules for toy drones. So it’s always a good idea to figure out what kind of drone you are using and the requirements for them. The question is if we are really only talking about the kind of shot you are describing or if you are actually looking for ways to circumvent the rules? We don’t promote breaking the rules because this will only lead to even stricter enforcement in the future. Drone flying is supposed to be a safe hobby for us pilots and those around us.

  • Chrystal | 20.07.2021

    Hi, I am a South African in the process of obtaining my drone license will I need another license in the EU or would it better if I just a EU drone license first? Will a EU license be valid in South Africa and what will the process be to obtain a EU drone license as a South African.

    • Drone Traveller Team | 01.08.2021

      Hi Chrystal,
      Thank you for your question! Every country has its own rules and regulations when it comes to drone flying so they also have different requirements for pilots. This is why licenses also differ from each other. Some countries recognize licenses from other countries because the requirements are similar, but you’d have to ask the respective authority. As far as we know, foreign pilots in the EU have to get the EU license. But the good news is that you only need to get it in one country and it will be valid in all other EU countries.

  • Jany Bardeau | 25.07.2021

    If you are certified remote pilot under part 107 (FAA) and your drone is registered in the US and you travel to France for shooting aerial view all around the country what do you need to be within the French/EU laws? (Those aerial views will be used commercially)

    • Drone Traveller Team | 01.08.2021

      Hi Jany,
      We aren’t at the point yet where there’s a global database of drone pilots, which means that US pilots in Europe have to register there and vice versa. The EU rules don’t differentiate between private and commercial drone flying. But as a foreign operator with a camera drone, you will have to register to get an operator ID and, depending on what kind of drone you use and where you want to fly, get a license (the type of license also depends on the type of flight). You can find more info in our articles on the EU drone regulation: https://drone-traveller.com/eu-drone-regulation-2021/
      Some countries also make insurance mandatory and have other rules that are particular to this country. We have written them down in the respective articles, like this one for France.

  • Steve | 18.08.2021

    Hi I live in the countryside in South West France .
    The other day I looked up to see a drone above my house videoing my wife and I , as soon as I spotted it, it flew back to where the operator was , to which I followed it and flagged down the departing pilot trying to drive off,
    we had an heated exchange of words , he said he had an order to check a neighbours solar panels on their roof which are some 100 to 150 meters away from where he was filming my wife and I and obscured by trees. Could you tell me what my rights are as I think this was totally out of order and an invasion of my privacy .
    Yours sincerely Steve varndell

    • Drone Traveller Team | 24.08.2021

      Hi Steve,
      We can’t give you any legal advice and obviously don’t have all the facts. Sometimes, it can seem like a drone was directly above you due to its height. But again, we can’t say for certain what exactly happened in your case. If you feel like the drone pilot was doing something illegal, you can contact the regional branch of the Civil Aviation Authority and tell them about your experience. If this was an approved flight, they should have more information. There is a list of the CAA locations with contact info on this site, some of them have e-mail addresses for drone inquiries: https://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/en/french-civil-aviation-authority

  • Isabel | 25.09.2021

    Hi! I’m Portuguese, I have a DJI Air 2s, registered at Portugal.
    I’m gone to travel to France. Do I need to register it somewhere to fly with it?
    And if I want to fly in a zone with restriction, where can I ask for permission?

    • Drone Traveller Team | 15.10.2021

      Hi Isabel,
      It’s actually a bit complicated because France has gone a different way with remote identification than the rest of the EU. If you are already registered as an operator, you don’t have to do this again in France. However, France also requires that your drone sends out information, including its own ID, which is structured something like this: UAS-FR-XXXXXX. You get this number when the drone is for example registered in the AlphaTango portal. The drone has to send the information electronically during the flight, which works either through its own software or an additional device. You can find some information for DJI drones in this article in French (despite the deadlines mentioned there, the process should still be the same): https://enterprise-insights.dji.com/fr/blog/comment-assurer-la-mise-en-conformit%C3%A9-de-votre-drone-dji-avec-le-signalement-%C3%A9lectronique
      For flying in a zone with restrictions, it depends on the type of restriction. If it is private property, you should contact the owner. If it is a public space, the regional aviation authority will be your best bet.

  • Liam | 11.10.2021


    My question is, can i fly in Paris if it is in a completely enclosed private property? not in a garden, but in a completely enclosed indoor space, with windows and doors closed?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Drone Traveller Team | 15.10.2021

      Hi Liam,
      The rules don’t apply to indoor operations if the chances of the drone escaping to the outdoors are very low. If you fly with people around, make sure that your insurance covers accidents in this scenario.

  • Marijn | 12.07.2022

    This is the first time I’ve heard a form has to be filled in in order to capture images or video’s somewhere in France. Does this only apply to no-fly zones, or do you actually have to fill in the form to get authorisation, or is it not neccesary?
    I’m looking forward to a reply, I’m going to France soon.

    • Francis Markert | 23.07.2022

      Hi Marjin,
      this is always mandatory to fly a camera drone in France. I was in contact with the authorities just a few weeks ago. So I can confirm that this rule is still in place.
      Kind regards,

  • John | 31.08.2022

    I am not so sure about the form for aerial footage rule. I do not see this on the 10 rules posters that French authority post and I do not see it as a requirement ob the French guidance for drone use.

    Is there an official link to say this is required for all drone users (including recreational).

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