<a href="http://www.france24.com/en/sites/all/modules/maison/aef_player/flash/player.swf“>Paris has held a long tradition of social and cultural openness: and prides itself as being welcoming to men and women regardless of their sexual orientation. The city’s mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, is openly gay and well loved and received as an effective, competent mayor who has seen to the introduction of several public administration reforms.( including a much loved bike riding system!)
Yet, sexual orientation remains everything from an uncomfortable dinner conversation to an outrageous sign of the end of days as soon as one steps into one of the outlying suburbs of Paris and the “provinces”. Whereas Delanoe is much loved as an openly gay mayor of Paris, it’s doubtful whether he would be equally loved elsewhere – he even has had one assassination attempt in an apparent effort to rid France of his perceived abominable ‘lifestyle choice’ , by a concerned French citizen.
More tellingly, same sex couples enjoy far less privileges to those of their heterosexual counterparts and can only get partnered under a contract (PACS) with restricted benefits.
The rest of France, arguably still has quite a long way to go in their acceptance of “queer’ folk. One area where this is clear is the military. Gays in the military remains something that you really don’t talk about in France. France 24 recently put this issue of gays in the military up for debate (see link)