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The use of drones is permitted but subject to extensive regulations, reinforced for the surveillance of the 2024 Olympics being held in Paris.

A distinction is made between use for private purposes and use for police surveillance purposes.

Use for private purposes:

In summary, you can use a day drone outside urban and sensitive areas, without disturbing anyone, and with registration and training obligations, respect for flight height.

The penal code, article 322-1, stipulates that “ the destruction, degradation or deterioration of property belonging to others is punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros, unless only slight damage has resulted ". Causing unintentional injuries is also punishable.

Article L. 6211-3 of the Transport Code provides that: " the right for an aircraft to fly over private property cannot be exercised under conditions such that it would hinder the exercise of the right of the owner ".

The civil code (art.9) and the penal code (L226-1 for example) punish invasions of privacy.



Use for police surveillance purposes:

Police surveillance (action of the administrative police for maintaining order as opposed to the judicial investigation police) by drone is authorized.

The Constitutional Council (Cons. const. May 17, 2023, n° 2023-850 DC, pts 26 to 49) validates the bill JO 2024 (relating to the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2024 (“Law relating to the Olympic Games”)) in France and the experimental use of algorithmic processing of video protection images or cameras installed on aircraft (excluding biometrics and facial recognition), subject to prefectural authorization.

Article 10, I, modifying the internal security code (art. L. 242-1 to L. 242-8) extends the experiment to "sporting, recreational or cultural events which, by the extent of their attendance or by their circumstances, are particularly exposed to the risk of acts of terrorism or serious threats to the safety of persons”.

The Council of State rejected, on May 24, 2023, the request for suspension of the decree of April 19, 2023, issued pursuant to the law " criminal liability and homeland security » adopted on November 18, 2021, and authorizing the use of drones by law enforcement,

The main regulatory texts governing the use of drones are:

  • The law of October 24, 2016 relating to the reinforcement of the safety of the use of civil drones
  • “Global Security” law, censored by the Constitutional Council (Law no. 2021-646 of May 25, 2021, art. 47; Cons. const. May 20, 2021, no. 2021-817 DC)
  • Law n° 2022-52 of Jan. 24, 2022) and subject to some reservations of interpretation by the Constitutional Council (Jan. 20, 2022, n° 2021-834 DC)
  • European delegated regulation 2019/945 of March 12, 2019
  • The European implementing regulation 2019/947 of May 24, 2019
  • The decrees of December 3, 2020
  • General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679, nott art.9
  • “Police-Justice” Directive (EU) 2016/680 of 27 April 2016, nott art. 10
  • Law n° 78-17 of 6 Jan. 1978, nott art. 89,II


Means of investigation within the framework of the criminal investigation