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Sacred Places section

France is generally seen as a Catholic country, and probably a majority of the population are Catholic today, but there's always been a big non-Catholic minority, mostly Protestant, which fact fuelled the seemingly endless religious wars that ravaged France for centuries. Today France is a strictly secular state, any religious observance is permitted provided it's personal and private, with a very few exceptions such as Easter. Demonstrations of religious affiliation aren't tolerated in schools, especially, which has caused some Muslims distress, because Muslim girls aren't allowed to wear headscarves at school.

The French are acutely aware that their revolution was a people's revolution against the Catholic Church primarily, and thus against the monarchy that supported it. A visit to any rural cemetery, especially in places like the Cevennes, will show you the graves of families – grandparents, parents and children – who died together because they starved to death. They had given almost all they had to the Church and were told they would receive their reward in heaven. France takes its motto of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ deeply seriously.

The Cathedral, Albi, Tarn

Albi Cathedral – Interior

Fontevraud Abbey, Loire Valley

Grall's Memorial

Le Mont St Michel, Normandy

Basilique du Sâcre Cœur, Paris

The Abbey, Brantôme, Dordogne

Medieval Abbey, Brantôme

Moissac Abbey, Tarn-et-Garonne

Rocamadour, Lot

Conques Abbey, Aveyron

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