|（1.School of Physical Education，South China Normal University，Guangzhou 510006，China；2.School of Travel，Guangzhou University，Guangzhou 510006，China)
Abstract: Physical education in France has gone through tremendous changes over the past hundred years. Palace activities, which belonged to the noble group originally, were not regarded highly by society until driven by enlightenment thoughts and the great French revolution. The development of education and urbanization in the 19th century enabled physical education to be gradually popularized and institutionalized. Gymnastics became a major means of physical education over a long period of time, but its status was gradually replaced by competitive sports which fitted better with epochal characteristics. Physical education in France today has become a social undertaking participated in and devoted to by the whole society. Although the participants, means and systems of physical edu-cation in France have gone through tremendous changes, these changes have always been closely connected to ep-ochal advancement, maintained education significance, highlighted the profound deposit of humanistic ideology in French culture, and shown the unique charm of French culture.
Key words: sports history；physical education；France