When the city of Nancy makes the headlines against all odds

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A breathtaking video of the city centre of Nancy was posted by a 18 year-old student on youtube a couple of weeks ago. It reveals the historic capital of the Dukes of Lorraine under a new angle but also brought an unprecedented court case in France.


The aerial view reveals some of Nancy’s most celebrated monuments and sites such as the Unesco-listed Place Stanislas, the Arc de Triomphe, the Ducal Palace and St. Epvre Church. Since then, the student’s remarkable film shot with the help of a GoPro camera attached to a small drone has been viewed by more than 400,000 views on Vimeo and 70,000 on YouTube.

However this success has been of short duration when the video went viral on the internet. Officials from the French civil aviation authority (Direction de l’Aviation Civile) noticed the video and consequently ordered an investigation.

The teenager has recently been charged with “endangering lives” because he had failed to obtain authorisation to fly his drone over a built-up area. A drone is thought to be equivalent to a ULM (Ultra-Léger Motorisé) or microlight. The Nancy prosecutor also added that there was a risk of violating other people’s privacy.

This is the first time in France that someone is being charged with endangering life after filming its drone flight. Drones were a popular present last Christmas in France with prices ranging from €100 to €1000, and the Nancy case will certainly generate jurisprudence at the national level.

Beyond that, the student’s drone film has undeniably stepped the Lorraine city of Nancy into the spotlight, revealing its beautiful architecture to the world.


English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • aerial view = vue aérienne (f)
  • architecture = architecture (f)
  • case = affaire (f)
  • church = église (f)
  • city = ville (f)
  • civil aviation authority = direction de l’aviation civile (f)
  • drone = drone (m)
  • Ducal Palace = Palais Ducal (m)
  • flight = vol (m)
  • investigation = enquête (f)
  • jurisprudence = jurisprudence (f)
  • microlight = ULM – Ultra-Léger Motorisé (m)
  • monument = monument (m)
  • old town = vieille ville (f)
  • prosecutor = procureur (m)
  • square = place (f)
  • video = vidéo (f)

Find our more about the city of Nancy.

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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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