In France, the very first ideas on flow control were developed by Philippe Poisson-Quinton from the Office National d'Etudes et Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA) in the 1950s. There was some renewal of this research topic in the early 1990s, first in the United States with scientists like Wygnanski and Gad-El Hak, and also in France at the initiative of Pierre Perrier from Dassault Aviation, who triggered a lot of research activities in this field both at ONERA and in the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) laboratories. The motivation was driven by the applications on Dassault Aviation military aircraft and Falcon business jets in order to contribute to the design, while facilitating performance optimisation and multi-disciplinary compromise. A few examples of flow control technologies, such as forebody vortex control, circulation control, flow separation control or boundary layer transition control using hybrid laminar flow control (HLFC), are presented to illustrate the applications and to explain the methodology used for the design of the flow control devices. The author also emphasises the current reaction of industry with respect to the integration of flow control technologies on an aircraft programme. The conclusion is related to the present status of the French research on this topic and to the next challenges to be addressed.