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.
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The boys were taken to hospital for checkups after they were discovered, and are now safe and sound back with their foster parents.