This paper presents an overview of the spacecraft electric propulsion activities at the French space agency (CNES). The main existing and future projects corresponding to low earth orbits and geostationary platforms are described. The field of application of electric propulsion is the station keeping of geostationary telecommunication satellites (@BUS), main propulsion for specific probes (SMART 1, new platform for scientific mission) and fine attitude control for dedicated micro-satellites (MICROSCOPE). The Research and Technology (R&T) program is also described in the paper. It covers various activities like research on plasma physics, equipment development and qualification and research on propulsion system. The R&T activities are dedicated to performance improvements of Hall effect thrusters, cathodes, the evaluation of the different low thrust technologies for formation flying applications. A constant effort is also put on plume effect.