The boys - Will, 13, and Ludovic, 11 - ran away from their foster home in the Loiret region, northern France, this weekend after an argument over school results.
But the search, which involved a helicopter, sniffer dogs and dozens of police officers, was called off on Wednesday afternoon when the the boys were found on a barge moored in a pond in a nearby village, where they had set up camp.
“The police leading the enquiry received information from a person who claimed to have recognized them,” said Yann Drouet, a local policeman.
“The police paid a visit to the area, and there they were.”
Police had even begun looking for clues of their whereabouts in Spain, where Will’s mother reportedly lives, and in the Seine-de-Marne region, where the boys also have relatives.
The boys were taken to hospital for checkups after they were discovered, and are now safe and sound back with their foster parents.