France has traditionally has close connections to the church, with Catholicism playing a major role in the way in which the country developed. While Catholicism is still the most followed religion of the country, with around 41% of people identifying themselves as Catholics, its influence has waned – 42% of people now say they are atheist/agnostic. Religion can still be seen everywhere though, with many stunning cathedrals, churches and other places of worship found throughout the country.
Islam is the second largest religion in France, fuelled by the large amount of immigration the country has seen in recent years. There have been some high profile incidents relating to the tensions in France over Islam – such as the Charlie Hebdo attack – however this should not be something to put anyone off travelling to France. Muslims travelling in France should be aware that the burka is illegal in public places – a contentious issue, as you might well imagine.
All other major religions are also found in France, and if you have any religious requirements they will be easy to meet, especially in larger towns and cities. This proliferation of various religions openly being practiced throughout the country just goes to show what a tolerant country France is – a country that everyone will enjoy travelling through.
As with every country, it is important to be sensitive to religious beliefs when travelling in France. Imagine how you’d treat religious sites at home, and then treat French ones in exactly the same way. By all means take the chance to explore some of the stunning religious buildings found in France though – such as Notre Dame – as they are absolutely beautiful and play a massive role in the history of the country.