Lesser-Known UFO Encounters From France In The 1990s

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 25, 2023
Estimated Reading Time
16 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

France has a long history of UFO sightings stretching back hundreds of years. It also has a history of several waves of sightings, some of which are among the most intense UFO waves in history. In and among these intense periods of UFO activity, though, are other lesser-known UFO sightings and encounters, and that was certainly the case for the 1990s, with many intriguing sightings being reported before the twentieth century handed off to the twenty-first.

What is further interesting is that while many of these encounters share similar details, and so suggesting a persistent presence of the same intelligence, whether a top-secret military presence or that of a potential alien race, there were many diverse objects and encounters from France during this time, perhaps leading us to ask just what makes this location so attractive to these speculative otherworldly vehicles.

Indeed, there are many encounters on record, far too many to examine each and everyone, although we will certainly explore as many as we can. We will start, though, with an incident that, at first, appeared to be a multi-witness wave of sightings one evening in the winter of 1990, but was eventually explained as rocket reentry debris – all that is, apart from one particular sighting.

The UFO Wave That Wasn’t

On the evening of November 5th, 1990, residents of France were suddenly witness to very strange flashes of light in the night sky. And it wasn’t just one or two, or even several of the local people who saw these bursts of light, but thousands of them. [1] As it was later discovered by investigators, an absolute wealth of sightings were made that evening, with witnesses offering varied descriptions from their respective locations. And these locations stretched across the entire middle of the country from east to west.

Some witnesses recalled seeing “clusters of light” while others reported seeing very solid structures which had searchlights coming from them. There were even reports of mothership-type objects with smaller objects leaving them. What was also interesting to note, was that many of those who described seeing a solid structured craft often described it as arrow or triangular-shaped, suggesting that whatever this object was, the witnesses had definitely seen something out of the ordinary. Other reports mentioned oblong or rectangular objects, often with searchlights pointing to the ground. Many reports further mentioned the objects speeding up and then slowing down again, suggesting a definite intelligence behind them.

Artist's impression of a typical craft witnessed that evening

Artist’s impression of a typical craft witnessed that evening

At first glance, it would appear that some kind of alien invasion was about to take place that evening. However, before anyone’s imagination could run away with them, there appeared to be an explanation for at least a majority of the sightings. Only two days previously, the Gorizont-23 rocket was launched. It was suggested that what many people witnessed that evening over France was the fragments of the rocket re-entering the atmosphere.

Indeed, that could explain a great many of the sightings, particularly those that spoke of clusters or groups of lights. It couldn’t, however, explain many of the apparent sightings of solid objects with searchlight-like beams. And one sighting in particular in St. Germain in Aube was of particular interest.

A Solid Craft “Under Good Control!”

On the night in question, at around 7 pm, Sandrine was driving her friend, Philippe, back from the local hospital. He had been to visit his wife who had just given birth to twin boys only hours earlier. [2] They were driving along a quiet road that ran alongside the A6 motorway, heading toward Mennecy. As they were approaching the village of Lisses, they noticed a strange object moving across the sky.

From his position in the front passenger seat, Philippe managed to see the object more clearly. He would recall that it appeared to be “piloted” and “under good control”, moving very purposely across the sky. What’s more, rather than screeching through the night sky, it appeared to be moving rather slowly, certainly for its size.

Philippe would further describe the object as being a “huge, compact, rectangular mass, with a surface shiny, like aluminum”. He elaborated that he could hear no sound or noise coming from the craft, but there did appear to be a “light smoke” coming from the area where white lights were situated. He estimated the object to be around 600 feet long and around 300 feet in height.

By this point, Sandrine had brought the vehicle to a stop, and each of them watched the object as it passed in front of the car at an approximate altitude of between 1500 to 3000 feet and headed off into the distance.

Star-Like Object Performs “Impossible” Maneuvers Over Niece

At around 11:30 pm on August 12th 1991 in Niece, a young couple were in a field watching the stars. [3] On this particular night, the stars appeared bright and stood out against the jet-black sky. As they watched, the young man noticed what he believed was a satellite moving slowly to the north out of the south, describing it as a “steady dim light, like a star, but moving”. He pointed out the object to his girlfriend.

Then, the object took a sudden left turn and did so without a change in speed and with no curve. He knew immediately that he had just witnessed something out of the ordinary, knowing that no conventional aircraft, or satellite, could perform such maneuvers. The object continued toward the east, eventually fading away into the distance, which is perhaps a good indicator of just how fast this mysterious object was moving.

The witness further explained in his report that his father was a physicist, engineer, and amateur astronomer, meaning he himself was more than familiar with such disciplines. And because of this, he was more than certain that what he witnessed that evening was far from “normal”. The sighting, though, remains unexplained. Was it some kind of mothership that was high up in the near orbit of our planet? Or was it a smaller scout-type craft that was operating at high altitudes?

Three Strange Sightings Within Five Days

In the opening days of January 1994, three sightings of mysterious aerial vehicles were made within five days of each other, with two of those encounters unfolding on the same night. Whether or not these encounters are connected is open to debate. They are, though, certainly worthy of inclusion here.

The Fleury Sur Andelle Incident

The first unfolded just before midnight on the evening of January 4th in Fleury Sur Andelle. [4] On the night in question, an anonymous man was watching television at home when he noticed an orange light from outside that appeared to be moving back and forth.

He went to the window to see what the source of this strange light might be, and was shocked to see a “luminous cone-shaped” object that appeared to be “turning around its own axis”. The witness could also “stripes of various colors” around the circumference of the craft. As the witness continued to watch, the object suddenly sped off into the distance, becoming nothing more than a speck of light in a matter of seconds. Then, it returned back toward the house, eventually coming to a gentle stop.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

The witness recalled that he had the distinct impression that the object – or whatever intelligence was inside it – was observing him and was aware of his presence. At this point, the witness backed away from the window, even pulling the covers over him in a bizarre moment of fear. Then, he heard a noise that seemed to come from directly outside his house, quickly followed by several flashes of light. For several minutes, the witness felt bizarre and uncomfortable “muscular contractions” in his legs and back which only eased when the object moved away from the property.

Humanoids Witnessed By Entire Family

Although the exact time isn’t certain, on the very same evening, this time in Tronville en Barrios, two parents, and their two children were just about to head to bed when they noticed an extremely bright light hovering outside over the road. Fascinated by what they were seeing, the witnesses continued to watch, noting that the light was slowly decreasing in brightness.

As it did so, they began to make out more intricate details about the aerial anomaly. They could see, for example, that behind the light was a solid bowl-shaped object with a “transparent dome” on the top. Even more amazing, they could all clearly see three “human-shaped” figures inside this domed section. They could see that despite the basic human appearance, each had a head that appeared much too large for their bodies, and each was wearing the same shiny silver suit.

At this point, one of the family telephoned their neighbors, urging them to go to their windows so they could see the bizarre events, which they duly did. The object was now only several feet from the ground when an opening suddenly appeared along the side of it. From this opening, one of the humanoids appeared, shining some kind of torch-like device down toward the ground as if looking for something.

After several moments, the torch went out and the figure returned inside the craft. A moment later, the object took off at great speed into the night sky.

An Object Changing Shape Mid-Flight?

Five nights later, at around 7:30 pm on January 9th in Nouzonville, a young woman and her friend were driving along the road when they witnessed a bizarre “luminous rectangle” in the sky overhead. [5] The woman brought her car to a stop and the two friends looked on in amazement at what they were seeing.

The object was moving in a purposeful direction and had distinct red and white lights around the edge. Then, much to their disappointment, the object went into some clouds and was no longer visible.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

The woman started the car and they went on their way once more. However, several minutes later, the object appeared once more. And once more, the woman brought their vehicle to a stop so they could observe it. In fact, this time, the two witnesses stepped out of the vehicle so they could get a clearer view.

They were a little perplexed, however. While the object had the same red and white lights around its edges, it now appeared oval-shaped instead of rectangular. Had the witnesses simply got the shape of the object wrong when they first noticed it? Or is this a case of an apparently solid object changing shape in midflight while obscured by the clouds?

They continued to watch the object for several minutes until it disappeared into the distance.

The Air France Flight 3532 Encounter

We have examined the Air France Flight 3532 UFO encounter in full previously. However, to put into context with the many other sightings over France at the time, it is certainly worth going over the basics of the incident here, not least as it unfolded only a matter of weeks after the incidents we have just explored.

The incident unfolded at a little after 1 pm on January 28th, around 20 minutes after Air France Flight AF-3532 departed the runway in Nice on its way to London. Pilot, Jean-Charles Duboc was informed by his co-pilot of a strange craft a short distance from them. Duboc would later describe the object as being a dark red color with “fuzzy edges” and was an “immense size”. He estimated it was around 1000 feet across and was located around 25 miles from their position.

Jean Charles Duboc

Jean Charles Duboc

They watched the object for around 60 seconds before it appeared to “merge with the environment”, with Duboc adding in his report that it became “translucent, transparent, (and) diluted in space”. Whether the object was a real nut-and-bolts craft or some kind of strange optical hologram is not known. Did the object simply fade away into nothing? Or might it have even disappeared into some kind of portal or gateway?

Duboc radioed a report to the control tower of what they had seen. However, he would refuse to write an official report for “fear of ridicule”. That was until he read about a sighting of a similar object in Paris on the same day. Feeling a little more confident given what could be a corroborating encounter, he came forward to offer an official version of events to the French police.

Just what Duboc and his crew witnessed that day remains a mystery.  The sighting, though, much like Duboc, is one that is widely regarded as being very credible and genuine.

Triangular Object Witnessed By Two Couples Along The Same Stretch Of Road

Around nine months after the Air France incident, another encounter with a bizarre aerial craft unfolded. [6] In the early hours of October 30th, at around 1:45 am, a couple were returning home in their car when they noticed a “luminous circle” with glowing lights around its edge hovering and “turning on itself” overhead.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

The object was stationary and was approximately 15 feet above the ground. Within moments, the object was directly in front of the car, allowing the witnesses to see that the white circular light was part of a larger, triangular-shaped object, with each side of the triangle being around 30 feet long.

Unnerved, the witness continued driving, speeding up and slowing down as they did so. The object appeared to match their speed as it followed them for several minutes. Eventually, the object appeared to lose interest in them, moving away from them in another direction.

Interestingly, when the sighting was investigated, another couple who were driving along the same stretch of road around the same time described seeing an almost identical object. The sighting remains unexplained.

Domed Craft Hovers Over A Road In Pont de Salars

At around 8 pm on September 12th, 1996 in Pont de Salars, a mother and her daughter would find themselves at the center of another curious UFO encounter. [7] As the car made its way along the road, the pair noticed a bizarre oval-shaped object with a domed section on the top hovering around 12 feet above the ground.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

They would later state in their report that the object was approximately the size of two cars. Furthermore, on the domed section, they could see what appeared to be three portholes that shined a sharp red color. Also in this section was a “fluorescent green light (that) turned like a gyrophare”.

Neither of the witnesses could hear any sounds or noise coming from the object, despite their close proximity. They watched it in awe for several minutes before it disappeared (it is not clear how the object disappeared – whether it rose into the air or simply faded away). The witnesses were at a complete loss as to what they had witnessed, with neither being able to offer any kind of rational explanation.

Interestingly, only four nights later in Corme Royal, at around 5 am on the morning of September 16th, a very similar object was witnessed. [8] The witness – an unnamed man – was driving when he noticed a suddenly appearing luminous point of light. The more he looked at this light, the more he could eventually see a solid oval-shaped object with portholes around the sides, from which came a strong orange light.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

He estimated the object was approximately 1000 feet from his car and around 100 feet from the ground. He described the exterior as being of a dark material and estimated its size to be around 30 feet. He had no desire to stop and calmly but quickly made his way past the object. As he did so, however, he could see what appeared to be another two identical crafts hovering a little higher overhead. He eventually left the scene behind and the sighting remains a complete mystery.

Bizarre Light Display Over Paris

Only days later, at around 11:30 pm on a rainy night in Paris near the Arc de Triumph, a husband and wife witnessed a strange, glowing object moving through the clouds. [9] The witness stated that the object was oval-shaped and changed speeds as it moved, appearing to slow and move downwards and increasing when ascending. Its motion appears to be similar to how we might imagine a high-speed boat moving over the water.

The object momentarily disappeared, only to reappear moments later. This time, though, a second glowing object appeared. The couple watched in awe as these two objects suddenly hurtled toward each other, stopping just short of merging.

The display went on for several minutes, with the lights appearing to disappear into the distance, only to appear again, only this time, four lights were visible. Once more, these lights moved around in a pattern in the sky, but very much in a controlled manner.

Eventually, the lights disappeared into the night sky for good. Although they noticed a few other people on the street with them, they were in such shock and so amazed by what they were witnessing that they were not at all certain if these other passersby were aware of the aerial anomaly also.

Bizarre Object Witnessed From Boat

In the early hours of July 3rd, 1997, at around 4 am in Perigny, a local man was in his boat when he noticed a bizarre aerial anomaly. [10] According to his report, he saw an “intense gleam” that descended quickly for around two or three seconds before stabilizing and then moving horizontally across the sky.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

Before the object stabilized, the witness called out to his two friends in order to wake them, and they too saw the object as it moved across the sky. They would recall that the object glowed a yellow color and appeared to have other lights along the top side of it.

It continued along its path and remained in view for between 10 to 15 seconds before it disappeared into a bank of clouds in the distance. While none of the men could explain just what they had seen, they realized they had witnessed something truly strange. And any notion that the object could have been a comet was dispelled by its purposeful slowing up and then change of direction. Just what the object might have been remains very much open to debate.

The Salon de Province Encounter

Only two days later, at just after midnight on July 5th in the Salon de Province, another bizarre encounter unfolded. [11] According to a report made to the National UFO Reporting Center, the witness, along with three friends, were returning home following a practice session with their salsa band. It was as they were driving out of the city that one of the witnesses, a young woman, noticed “something in the sky”.

To begin with, they didn’t pay too much attention to the strange glow. However, after five minutes and with the object still present, they began to contemplate that they were witnessing something out of the ordinary. They wondered if the object was, in fact, a car in the distance that only appeared to be in the sky. However, when they realized that the area where the light was coming from was a forest, they had to dismiss this explanation.

They decided to bring the car to a stop to see if they could hear anything out of the ordinary. However, aside from a few birds, the were no sounds to speak of. They could also see “some kind of fog” near where the glowing object was, although they weren’t sure if this came from the object itself.

At this point, they set off once more. However, they soon had the impression that the object, whatever it was, was “following” them and they brought the car to a stop once more. To their shock, when they brought their vehicle to a halt, the object stopped also. This continued for some time, with the object following and then stopping in sympathy with their car. At one point, as the foursome drove through a small village, they thought they had lost the object. However, as they left the village behind, the object appeared once more.

We might wonder if this was a purposeful decision by the intelligence in control of the object. Was this an attempt to conceal itself from the wider public, only appearing again once the group was driving out of the village? It is certainly something to keep in mind.

The light continued to follow them for a considerable distance, changing its direction whenever the car did. Even when they turned off their headlights the object had no trouble locating them. By this time the group had managed to get a good look at it and could tell that it was a solid circular-shaped object.

One of them would elaborate that it was “like some small squares of light that were turning first one way and then the other, in a smooth way”. They continued that the “center changed size all the time, it was like something pulsating, like a heart”. Around the center part, they would recall further, there were “smaller squares of light” that “all turned in the same direction”.

Eventually, the group arrived at Salon de Provence and the object ceased its pursuit and immediately headed into the distance in the direction it had come.

Triangular Object Witnessed Over Paris

Around two months later, at just before 1:45 am in the early hours of September 7th, 1997, in Paris, a local resident reported seeing a strange object over the city from his balcony. [12] The witness stated that the object was a distinct triangular shape with a green light at two of the corners and a blue light at the other.

He recalled that it moved along a “rectilinear trajectory” and remained completely silent as it did so. The witness did, though, feel strange vibrations in his body as it moved overhead which he attributed to the object. In total, it remained in sight for around 12 seconds before it disappeared into the distance.

Witness sketch

Witness sketch

One other strange detail, however, was that when he went to take a picture of the object, his camera failed to work, almost as if it had been blocked by whatever intelligence was in control of the object. Whether this is purely a coincidence or not is perhaps open to debate. The sighting, though, remains unexplained almost a quarter of a century later.

The La Motte D’Aveillans Sighting

The following year, at around 11 pm on July 12th 1998 in La Motte D’Aveillans, a local man, along with his girlfriend, and her brother, were in their yard in the village of Grenoble staring up at the night sky looking for satellites. [13] They would spot around 10 satellites during the course of the evening. One of them, however, stood out from the others making the trio contemplate just what it might have been.

According to their report to the National UFO Reporting Center, this particular object, instead of moving across the sky in a typical satellite-like fashion, suddenly stopped and changed direction. And it did so in a way, not like any conventional aircraft, all in one fluid motion. It then began to move as if tracing the outlines of a square before it headed off and disappeared into the distance.

Initially, the group decided to keep the sighting to themselves. However, several days later, the main witness was speaking to a friend who was an astronomer, who offered he had likely witnessed the same mysterious object on the same night. Rather than being able to provide a rational explanation for the object, the witness’s friend was at as much of a loss as he was.

They contemplated that they could have witnessed a new, experimental, and highly advanced military satellite. If this wasn’t the case, though, the only other reasonable explanation they could arrive at was that they had witnessed a vehicle from another world. The sighting remains unexplained.

Metallic Discs And Triangular Objects

There were several other sightings that are perhaps worth briefly mentioning in the final year of the twentieth century. For example, on New Year’s Day 1999 over Reunion Island, a “metallic disc” was witnessed hovering below the heavy clouds. [14]

Almost exactly a year later, at around 6 pm on December 20th, 1999 in Villetaneuse, a triangular-shaped object was witnessed for several minutes. [15] According to the report made to the National UFO Reporting Center, the witness noticed the strange object due to its ultra-fast movements overhead, including bizarre and breathtaking changes of direction. Indeed, the witness offered that what he saw was a “very strange form of flying”.

He described the object as being distinctly triangular in shape with four lights on the underside – one in the center and one on each of the corners. The object remained in sight for around four minutes, performing dramatic turns and zig-zag patterns that, according to the witness, “no plane can do”.

Ultimately, the witness had no idea just what he was seeing, describing the whole event as “really crazy”.

France – A Hotbed Of UFO Activity

As we can see, then, we have examined only some of the UFO sightings from France for one decade only. The fact is, UFO encounters in France are in abundance, with sightings of strange aerial objects continuing well into the opening decades of the twenty-first century and into our contemporary era. Indeed, we will almost certainly turn our attention to some of those sightings in a future article.

We might ask, then, why there is such a heavy UFO presence in France, a presence, incidentally, that goes back at least until the very start of the Modern UFO Era. Is it merely the size of the country that means, by the law of averages, there would be a higher rate of sightings? Perhaps the different coastlines on the north and south of the country, if we subscribe for a moment to the notion of underwater extraterrestrial bases existing, means the location sees more of these craft as they enter and leave these speculative subaquatic bases.

It is perhaps also worth drawing attention to the fact that there are a number of United States military bases in France. If, as some researchers have suggested, there is some kind of secret military connection to the proposed alien presence on our planet, this might also offer a reason for the higher rate of UFO reports.

One thing is certain, France continues to be a hot spot of UFO activity today. And its wealth of UFO reports over the years will undoubtedly contribute significantly to clarifying the overall UFO and alien picture.

The video below examines UFO encounters in France a little further.


1 French UFO Wave https://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/901105-French_wave.pdf
2 UFO Sightings over France, 1990, UFO Casebook https://www.ufocasebook.com/2010/francesighting1990.html
3 NUFORC Sighting 163254, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=163254
4 Man observes cone-shaped object with lights; physiological effects in France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1119.htm
5 Luminous rectangular object with lights in Nouzonville, France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1118.htm
6 Triangle-shaped object with lights hovers above, then follows car in Selestat, France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1117.htm
7 Dome-shaped object with lights in Pont de Salars, France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1120.htm
8 Oval-shaped objects with portholes observed in France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1121.htm
9 NUFORC Sighting 11041, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=11041
10 Witnesses in sailing ship observe UFO with lights in France, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1122.htm
11 NUFORC Sighting 2189, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=2189
12 Large triangular-shaped object with lights observed in Paris, UFO Evidence http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1124.htm
13 NUFORC Sighting 28646, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=28646
14 NUFORC Sighting 34717, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=34717
15 NUFORC Sighting 67360, National UFO Reporting Center https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=67360

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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