When people think of France, they often think of the country's famous monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe; or the famous regions, such as Paris, the French Riviera, or Provence; or even the rich culture, including the arts, food, and wine. Few people realize that underneath the beauty and history, France is an almost completely secular nation. Like many other countries, there is a strong cultural attachment to their Christian heritage, but few people in the country believe in anything, and even fewer know Christ.
A big reason for such a large movement away from religion as a whole goes back to the history of the country. In the time leading up to the French Revolution, the Catholic Church was one of the most powerful organizations in the country. The church was the largest land owner and survived tax-free despite owning some of the best land in the nation. Due to the size and power of the Church, during the revolution there was a concerted effort to remove the power and influence of the Church. The Church was seen as being too connected with the monarchy and therefore a threat to the individual rights given to the people of France. As a result, the idea of state-mandated secularism became popularized and the doctrine of Laïcité was formed.