Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Although play has always been a part of French society, its concept has drastically evolved throughout the centuries. Directly opposing the notion of work, free time was originally exemplified by the life of leisure the wealthy aristocratic elite led while the majority of the population had to work to survive. As a result, the aristocratic lifestyle became an idealized model deeply rooted in French society. The democratization of free time that has been taking place since the early 20th century has made leisure accessible to all. Additionally, the recent changes in lifestyle and values indicate a need and belief in pleasure. France has evolved into a secular society that views free time as an individual sacred right. With the combination of a shorter work week, a longer life expectancy, and a higher disposable income, the French can enjoy a substantial amount of free time for recreational and sports activities. Both ...