Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France's chronic unemployment problem

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Candidates Goodluck Jonathan and Mohamudu Buhari call for calm

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Anger at mental health stigmatisation after crash allegations

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Yemen, the Escalation; France's Three Way Race; Clarkson Shown the Exit (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Germanwings Crash; Co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day (part 1)

Read more

#THE 51%

The extraordinary tale of the Egyptian mother who lived as a man

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

Read more

FOCUS

Portugal: Anger at corruption scandals, one year after bailout

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Bistronomy: Stylish and simple eating

Read more

France

Parisian women finally 'allowed' to wear trousers

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-04

Women in Paris have been officially banned from wearing trousers since 1799. However, France’s Minister for Women’s Rights (pictured, wearing trousers) has revoked the law calling it a “museum piece.”

An archaic by-law banning Parisian women from wearing trousers has finally been repealed 214 years after it was originally introduced.

The November 1799 decree stipulated that any woman wishing to wear men’s clothing in the French capital had to seek official permission from the city authorities.

It was amended two times a century later, when women were given the freedom to don “pantalons” [trousers] if they were “holding the handlebars of a bicycle or the reins of a horse.”

The decree was passed when the working class fashion of wearing long trousers (as opposed to the aristocratic knee-length “culottes”) became a symbol of the French revolution. The rule therefore symbolically barred women from the revolutionary rank and file, known at the time as the “sans-culottes”.

‘A museum piece’

In 2010, a group of Green Party lawmakers began a campaign to get the absurd by-law, held in the archives of the Paris Prefecture [police headquarters] and technically still in force, struck off permanently.

The group faced surprising resistance from the prefecture, which considered the effort “removing a piece of judicial archaeology” a “waste of time”.

A fresh application for the decree to be officially removed from the prefecture’s official documentation was made in 2012 by a member of parliament for the opposition UMP party.

This time, the request was taken seriously, and the 1799 law was last week officially confirmed null and void.

French Minister for Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the rule was “incompatible with the principles of equality between men and women that are written into the constitution, as well as in France’s European engagements.”

“Because of this incompatibility, this by-law is implicitly repealed,” she added. “It has absolutely no legal effect. The document is nothing but a museum piece.” 

Date created : 2013-02-04

  • FRANCE

    French snap up ‘sexy’ govt minister’s sailor shirt

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France's president is an 'imbecile', Karl Lagerfeld says

    Read more

  • ART

    Paris show looks back at Helmut Newton's 'Porno Chic'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)