Women finally 'allowed' to wear trousers in Paris

200-year-old French law is abolished

Good news ladies; France has finally abolished an old law stating that women could not wear trousers in Paris.

Previously, if you strutted the streets of the French capital in trousers you were risking the possibility of walking right into trouble, and into a jail cell.

The law, which was initially created in 1799, meant that women had to ask police for special permission to "dress as men" in Paris. However, it has finally been revoked.

The only time women were allowed to wear trousers was when "the woman was holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse."

There had been repeated attempts to repeal the law over the years, and it was officially overturned on January 31 by Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights.

It took so long to get rid of the law as it "wasn't a priority."

Women finally 'allowed' to wear trousers in Paris

However, when a member of the conservative UMP party protested on the basis the law "could injure our modern sensibilities", action was finally taken.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said: "This ordinance is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men, which are listed in the Constitution, and in France's European commitments.

"From that incompatibility follows the implicit abrogation of the ordinance."

A few other crazy foreign laws that still exist today are:

  • In Switzerland it is illegal to flush the toilet in an apartment building after 10pm.
  • In Singapore it has been illegal to chew gum since 1992.
  • In 2009 Japan made it against the law to be fat. In 2009 the nation that is the home to sumo wrestling actually set a maximum waistline size. Men aged 40 and above must not have a waist more than 80cm. Women get an extra 10cm.

Do you know any weird and wonderful laws around the world? Let us know by posting your comments below.

If you're thinking of heading to France on your gap year then head to our France country section to get one or two ideas on the things you can do there.