For members


France facts: Sex with a stranger is a legal part of a business trip

France has a well established reputation as the country for lovers, but our new series exploring the lesser known - and frankly sometimes unbelievable - side of the country looks at one very unusual legal precedent.

France facts: Sex with a stranger is a legal part of a business trip
Photo: AFP
For most people business trips are a combination of boredom, desultory power play and unhealthy levels of drinking, but in France there is something else that is legally permitted when you are working away from home – picking up strangers and having sex with them.
The bizarre legal precedent comes from a case in which a Frenchman died while on a business trip. His company claimed that this could not be classed as a workplace accident because when he died he was having sex with someone he had just met.
But after several court cases and a hearing in the Paris Appeals Court, a judge ruled that as sex is a normal everyday activity it can be judged a legitimate of a business trip, and therefore the man was the victim of a workplace accident.
Although it's unlikely that this legal precedent will cut any ice at all with wronged partners if you come home from a 'work' trip sporting some fresh lovebites and lipstick on your collar – don't say we didn't warn you.

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For members


France Facts: Paris once had a ‘strike square’

The French have something of an international reputation for being fond of a strike - but did you know that Paris once had a Place de Grève (strike square)?

France Facts: Paris once had a 'strike square'

But in this case the French did not name the square after one of their favourite activities, in fact it was the other way round.

The Place de Grève, in central Paris next to the Seine, was the place where unemployed workers gathered, seeking casual labour.

Over time grève came to signify a group of people who were not working.

After the French won the right to strike in 1864 – 20 years before they won the right to form a union – the word attached itself to workers who were choosing to without their labour, rather than people who were unable to find work.

These days the French are quite fond of une grève, and between 2010 and 2017, the number of French strike days was 125 per 1,000 employees, according to a study by the European Trade Union Institute.

As a comparison, the UK, Germany and Sweden had 20, 17 and 3 respectively. 

The Place de Grève still exists, but in 1802 it was renamed the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville and houses the very impressive city hall of Paris.

The square's other claim to fame is that it used to be where public executions took place, and saw the first public use of the guillotine when robber Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was executed on April 25th, 1792.

And France has seen one or two strikes since 1864.