This informative page does not exempt you from informing yourself about your rights and duties as the owner or user of a crossbow, bow or knife.
The law and the crossbow licence in France:
According to the decree n° 2013-700 of July 30, 2013 implementing the law n°2012-304 of March 6, 2012:
The acquisition and possession are free (except for persons under 18 years old), they do not require a licence, to buy one you just need to present an identity document (sent by email at the time of order) to prove your majority.
The possession of a category D weapon is under the responsibility of its owner. The keeping of a weapon by an individual is not considered as carrying a weapon. Its storage place must not be constantly changing.
Carrying a weapon consists of transporting a weapon ready for use in a public place. It either in the hand, in a bag or in a vehicle. It is strictly forbidden.
You can carry a weapon if it cannot be used immediately (in the case of a crossbow the string must be taken apart, the bow as well if possible), in a bag or a cover to avoid frightening passers-by or even causing general panic. Also be careful to be able to justify a reason for transport, if you walk with it every day by car you risk a heavy penalty.
Crossbow hunting is totally forbidden in France. The fact that the string is held mechanically makes the crossbow very different from the bow, where it is the user who holds the string. Moreover, crossbows are much more powerful than bows, much easier to use and just like bows they do not make any noise.
The law and the crossbow licence in Belgium:
As in France, in Belgium crossbows are considered as edged weapons. The difference is that in Belgium only gunsmiths can sell crossbows.
It is also necessary to show an identity document when buying to prove that the buyer is of legal age.
It is forbidden to carry them ready for use, as in France.
For hunting, we have not yet been able to obtain an answer at this level, please inquire with hunting clubs or prefectures.