Coming of Age in France

I asked Monique Palomares if there’s anything special for coming of age in France. She wrote…

Until January 1, 1997 there was a mandatory draft. 20 year olds would serve for 10 months (before the 90’s they served a longer period of time). Once someone had completed their military service they were considered a man. Nowadays young men, and even young women, have to register but they don’t have to serve.

In the old days, for young women the only rite of passage was getting married and becoming a mother.

At fifteen years of age, people start learning how to drive in France.

At eighteen, one is an adult and therefore can vote, buy cigarettes and smoke, buy alcohol and drink, and drive a car alone.

Nowadays, there’s still no rite of passage, the only one is the 18th birthday when people legally become an adult.

Monique Palomares works with me on the French and Spanish versions of Mama Lisa’s World. -Mama Lisa

Image: Car Emoji from Openmoji (CC BY-SA 4.0).

This article was posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 at 5:09 pm and is filed under Coming of Age, Countries & Cultures, France, Mama Lisa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Coming of Age in France”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Here are more details from Monique about how long people had to serve in the military in France in the past century:

    When I was a child, there was the draft board called “conseil de révision”. It was replaced in 1965 by selection centers where 19 – 20 year old men would go to take tests to see if they were “fit for service”. They were called “trois jours” (3 days) because originally it lasted three days, including the trip there and back. In fact the actual tests lasted only a day or day and a half. Men passed a series of tests to see their level of general knowledge and intellectual capacity and then they had to pass a physical, psychiatric and medical test.

    Here’s a chart showing how long French men had to serve in the military at different points in the past century:

    1923 to 1928 = 18 months
    1928 to 1935 = 1 year
    after 1935 = 2 years
    After the war, from 1946 to 1950 = 1 year
    1950 to 1963 = 18 months (30 during the war in Algeria)
    1963 to 1970 = 16 months
    1970 to 1992 = 12 months
    1992 to 1997 = 10 months

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