France Knife Laws

Knife Laws in France: Everything You Need to Know

Knife laws in France are strict, just like other countries in Europe. They have specific rules and regulations regarding carrying the tool openly or concealed in public or other places.

So, what size knife is legal to carry in France? You can carry knives below 4.7 inches or smaller than the palm of your hand. Moreover, the knife has to be safe according to the laws of France. And a safe pocket-sized time-maintainable knife is the safest to carry around.

Otherwise, you’ll have to face the consequences of the law. It’s fine if you’re a traveler or a regular citizen; the punishment goes the same. Know more about knife laws in France here; at least it will enlighten you to roam without any hassle there.


You’ll be exploring a lot about the knife laws in France in the article. But let’s make a positive and general impression of the law before diving.

Pocket-Sized Knives: Legal as long as they are risk-free and maintain the safe knife specification.
Jagged Knives: Prohitibed to carry.
Knife Revelation: Knives should be concealed.
A Place to Keep Knives: Only the permitted knives should be carried in a pocket or transport.
Knife Carrier: Only the permitted and trained personnel can carry illegal knives with proper validations.
Punishment for Carrying Illegal Knives: Fine and jail are sealed as a punishment for carrying illegal knives.

List of Illegal Knives in France

Not all knives are legal in France. No matter how safely you carry them for hikings or whatever permission you take, you just can’t carry some knives with you. It’s the state that won’t allow you considering the security of the people and severity of the knife.

Here are the list of the knives you cannot carry with you in France. If the authority catches you with them, you’ll be in big big trouble.

  • Writing pen knives
  • Belt buckle knives
  • Switchblade knives (over 2 inches blade)
  • Lipstick knives
  • Air gauge knives

Safe Knife Specifications in France

You simply can’t carry any knife in France. There are specific rules and regulations on the type of knife permissible to you or any other resident in the country.

Those permitted knives could have certain specifications. For example, you can carry a knife with fewer than 3 inches of blade. Also, there are many other restrictions and permitted variations on the knife and its carrying. Let’s dot them below:

  • Your knife has to be flat without a jagged edge
  • No way your knife is meant to be used for any battle, fight, or dangerous activity mode. It must be safe and sound to be held by any people
  • Fixed-blade knives are not allowed to be carried. Your knife must have a scope to be locked in space. Folding knives are acceptable under the case
  • The legal knife length can be around 4.7 inches, including the blade
  • Daggers and stilettos don’t fall under the knife category. So carrying them will still bring you a punishment
  • You must adequately explain why you carry a knife if any legal body asks. Any illogical or unethical reason might label the carrying as illegal
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So far, you are good to know the permitted knife and its carrying in the country. That doesn’t include the restrictions because there are more validations you need to clarify before carrying a knife in that European country.

1. Illegality of Knife in Certain Places

The whole country is a territory where you can’t carry a knife just like that. It’s the law.

  • Specifically, you can only have a knife with you in the city or around if you have a valid reason. Also, you have to ensure that you’re carrying the correct size.
  • Schools are one of the most monitored and red-alerted places to carry knives. Whether you are a student or the student’s parents, it will be termed a direct crime if you carry a knife at school.
  • The same goes for other educational institutions.
  • Banks, a regular place to dwell mass people, have put direct restrictions on knives. Even if you have the permitted one, you will be asked to hand it over to security for the time being you’re inside.
  • Transportation is one of the riskiest places to carry a knife. Because once you are suspected of any suspicious activity or activities and then caught with a knife, you better be ready to explain to the investigator.

2. Illegality in Local/State Governments

The country’s federal government has declared any knife with a fixed or locking blade as a “Category 6” weapon for the public. That means carrying them, the locals will term you as a dangerous weapon in the eyes of the government.

However, the state government is confined and serious with the law. But you can get a little relief from the local government by having a sporting license for the knife.

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This can save you sometimes, but not every time. Thus, in the eye of the state government, you’ll always be marked the same.

Also, knives without a locking mechanism of specific and proper size can be carried out without any hassle. Also, those have to follow the “safe knife specifications.”

3. Illegality Based on Concealed and Open Knives

Be your knife open or concealed; you can only carry them in France if it follows the standards and regulations of safe knife carrying. Mostly, the spring-constituted knife is directly forbidden to carry.

And carrying the knife open or concealed brings you the same consequences. After all, it doesn’t follow the law.

4. Illegality of Selling, Manufacturing, Importing, or Trading

Thinking of importing or selling the knives in France? Well, you can. As a seller, you must have the trade license authorized and verified by the government.

You’ll have to show all the invoices for the buying and selling knives if needed. Better keep good and top-notch records of every knife.

Same for manufacturing. You should be an authorized manufacturer of permissible and non-permissible knives. Once you get that, you are free to make any knives. After all, the illegal ones have been used; they are just illegal outside.

Safety is the primary goal here. Be it of any business, it is a must to keep knives safe from general people. Keeping it concealed and in a safe place might serve the purpose well.

Penalties and Punishment for Carrying Illegal Knives in France

You know the rules, you know the regulations, and you also know the type of permissible knives to carry around. If you miss any points, go open with a knife in your pocket, and get caught, you’ll be put behind bars.

You must be wondering how you would be caught. That’s usual to think, but the cops have every right to check anyone they feel suspicious of.

It might be you, or it might not be. But if you are checked and caught with an illegal knife, you’re surely unlucky that day and for some more ahead.

Even if you are to carry a knife in a car in France, you have to abide by the general rules on knives there.

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The straight-cut first law implies carrying such dangerous weapons outside. The knife is considered a dangerous weapon unless it follows or binds the restriction or prescribed characteristics.

And for that, you could count up to €15,000 and be jailed for up to one year. The punishment can increase as per the rules you break and the risk you bring into the public place by carrying it.

That’s the latest law. And recently, it has permitted Laguiole, Opinel, or classic Swiss Army knives to carry. If they were illegal in the past, they are legal now.

List of Legal Knives

Here is a list of all the legal knives to carry in public. Even if you get caught with these knives, you won’t get fines or punishment.

  • Non-Jagged Knife
  •  Pocket Knife
  • Opinel Knife
  • Laguiole Knife

You are allowed to carry other knives as well but that would require proper authorization.

Here you have a list of knives that can be carried after you get permission from the authority and maintain proper safety.

  • Butterfly Knife / Balisong
  • Knuckle Knives
  • Switchblade
  • Hunting knives

Fun Facts

You could fear and tension over the laws and regulations regarding knives in France. But in reality, you won’t have to be that tense. Remember, the authority won’t charge you for anything unless your knife is not dangerous and maintains the specification.

But, as long as your knife’s blade is smaller than your palm, you won’t have any problem carrying them. In most cases, the authority wouldn’t even care to charge you for the blade size; you can just escape by saying that it was for safety purposes.

Be it legal or fancy ones; you can get away with that blade size any day.


France’s knife laws might sound strict to you, but in general, it is one of the finest laws in the country. The state and local government is doing everything to keep the country clean and safe. What more can a citizen ask from it?

If you travel there with a knife, you will be caught initially at the airport. Even if you buy and roam around with one, ensure you abide by the rules and regulations.

And hopefully, you won’t have any problem with that. After all, you’re here completing the complete guide in the article.

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