This paper describes a lidar technique for the remote sensing of microphysical and optical properties of fog and clouds. The technique is based on recovering the information contained in the multiple scattering contributions to the lidar signals. The multiple scattering contributions are measured via detection at three or more fields of view ranging from a value slightly greater than the laser beam divergence to a maximum less than the width of the forward peak of the phase function at the lidar wavelength. The inversion is performed by least squares fitting these measurements to a multiple scattering lidar equation obtained in analytic form from a phenomenological model of the scattering processes. The solutions are the scattering coefficient and the effective radius of the fog or cloud droplets. This is sufficient information to determine the parameters of an assumed gamma distribution for the droplet sizes from where cloud properties such as the liquid water content and the extinction coefficients at visible and infrared wavelengths can be calculated. Typical results on slant path optical depth, vertical extinction profiles and fluctuation statistics of clouds are compared with in situ data. The agreement is very satisfactory. Sample appliication results on monitoring the visual and infrared detection ranges through clouds are discussed.