This paper describes the use of SPOT satellite data for deriving crop biophysical parameters at various dates during the growing season. In particular, the leaf area index (LAI) was estimated by using the semi-empirical CLAIR model. Subsequently, these LAI estimates were used for calibrating the mechanistic crop growth model ROTASK. This study is based on measurements obtained during the Alpilles experiment in Southern France from October 1996 to November 1997. Thus far, this methodology was applied using ground-based and airborne optical remote sensing data. In this study, it was shown that the methodology could also be applied using spaceborne imagery. Moreover, it was shown that parameters describing the relationship between the weighted difference vegetation index and the LAI for cereals in the Netherlands could also be applied to wheat crops in Southern France. This shows that this approach may have a broad applicability and that parameter estimates are not site-specific.