In France, marriage between first cousins is legal and allowed under French law. However, some restrictions have been imposed historically. Here is an overview of France’s laws regarding cousin marriage.

Current Laws Allow Cousin Marriage

According to France’s Civil Code, marriage is permitted between biological first cousins without any prohibitions or limitations in effect today. There are no current laws barring cousins from marrying.

This legal allowance also extends to double first cousins, who share both sets of grandparents. Despite their closer degree of kinship, French law does not prohibit double first cousins from marrying either.

Past Prohibitions Have Been Lifted

However, it should be noted that first cousin marriage has not always been allowed in France. Up until the French Revolution in 1789, canon law imposed by the Catholic church prohibited marriage between biological first cousins.

But after France became a secular state, these religious prohibitions were eventually lifted. Today’s modern civil laws place no restrictions on cousins marrying.

Cultural Views on Cousin Marriage

Despite permissive modern laws, views on cousin unions remain mixed across French society. Surveys show younger people are more open, but concerns around potential birth defects and incest taboos persist, especially among older generations.

Supporters argue bans excessively restrict personal freedom around marriage choices. But objections and stigma remain present even without legal bans.

Rationale Behind France’s Approach

By neither prohibiting nor promoting cousin marriage today, French law emphasizes individual liberty and choice for consenting adults.

It does not impose moral or genetic judgments, allowing couples to make their own informed decisions by weighing multiple personal and cultural factors.


In summary, French civil law allows first cousin marriage between consenting adults with no current prohibitions. But social acceptance fluctuates, so cousins should expect mixed public reactions. Overall, France’s modern legal framework places no restrictions on marrying a cousin.