1736 – By this date there was a Grand Lodge of France. It is sometimes referred to as the English Grand Lodge of France and a foundation date of 1728 is given. There were undoubtedly lodges in France before 1736 but reliable documentation is scant. They include: at Dunkirk, Lodge Friendship and Fraternity (1721); at Bordeaux, the English Lodge (1732); at Valenciennes, Perfect Union (1733); at the chateau of the Duchess of Portsmouth at Aubigny, the Scottish Lodge of Aubigny (1735); and in Paris, St. Thomas (1725), King’s Head (Louis d’Argent) (1729), de Bussy (1732) and Coustos-Villeroy (1736). In 1738 Anderson’s revised Constitutions recorded the independent existence of Freemasonry in France, and in 1766 the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) formally recognized the Grand Lodge of France. The history of Freemasonry in France is one of complexity, confusion and discord, and the following notes tend towards over-simplification.

1767 – The Grand Lodge was closed by royal decree; the ban was lifted in 1771.

1771 – The Grand Lodge was revived. From this arose a National Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of France. Some of the lodges of the Grand Lodge formed the Grand Lodge of Clermont in 1772, which joined the Grand Orient in 1799.

1785 – England warranted a lodge at Avignon, and at Rouen the Royal Order of Scotland established the first of 26 chapters and lodges in France.

1793 – The Grand Lodges, Grand Orient, and Royal Order ceased to meet, because of the Revolution.

1799 – The Grand Lodges merged with the Grand Orient under the name of the Grand Orient of France.

1804 – Count de Grasse-Tilly returned from America with a patent to form a Supreme Council of 33 degrees. Some lodges joined the Supreme Council, which formed the Scottish General Grand Lodge. By this time, the Grand Orient had devised a French Rite of seven degrees. It was agreed that the Grand Orient should control the first 18 degrees, leaving the Supreme Council to the higher degrees. Nevertheless, the Scottish General Grand Lodge continued to function. Over the next few years further maneuvers resulted in four Supreme bodies of the Scottish Rite, of which two survived as serious rivals: the Supreme Council within the Grand Orient of France, and the Supreme Council of France with a subordinate Craft Grand Lodge, now called the Central Grand Lodge.

1868 – The Grand Orient of France recognized the Supreme Council of Louisiana, which caused many US Grand Lodges to withdraw recognition. It also caused the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite SJ USA to withdraw recognition of the Grand Orient’s Supreme Council and resume relations with the Supreme Council of France (which had the subordinate Craft grand lodge).

1877 – The Grand Orient of France amended its constitution, removing the requirement of belief in Deity and the immortality of the soul (which it had inserted in 1849), which resulted in further widespread withdrawals of recognition.

1880 – Some Craft lodges of the Supreme Council of France broke away to form the Scottish Symbolic Grand Lodge.

1894 – The remaining Craft lodges under the Supreme Council of France were granted independence and formed the Grand Lodge of France, together with some lodges of the Scottish Symbolic Grand Lodge.

1897 – The remaining lodges of the Scottish Symbolic Grand Lodge merged with the Grand Lodge of France.

1904 – The Supreme Council of France affirmed that it controlled only the 4th to 33rd degrees, and that the Grand Lodge of France was independent.

1913 – Two lodges of the Grand Orient formed the Independent and Regular Grand Lodge for France and the French Colonies, working the Rectified Rite. This grand lodge received immediate recognition from the United Grand Lodge of England. The following year it chartered a third lodge, St. George, working Emulation ritual in English.

1948 – The Independent and Regular Grand Lodge for France and the French Colonies was renamed the French National Grand Lodge (GLNF).

1958 – A schism in the GLNF resulted in the formation of the Traditional & Symbolic Grand Lodge Opera (GLTSO). In the same year, the Craft lodges of the Great Priory of the Gauls, and lodges of the Scottish Masters of St Andrew joined the GLNF.

1964 – About 800 members of the Grand Lodge of France objected to a treaty with the Grand Orient, and joined the GLNF.

1965 – Some leaders of the Supreme Council of France quit the Council and formed a Supreme Council for France in alliance with the French National Grand Lodge, whereupon the new Council was recognized by many mainstream Supreme Councils, and the Supreme Council of France de-recognized.

1968 – About 600 members (12 lodges) of the GLNF left, and formed the curiously-named French National Lodge (NLF).

2000 – The United Grand Lodges of France was formed by the Grand Lodge of France and the GLTSO as a confederation of autonomous bodies, hoping that the GLNF and NLF would also join—which did not happen. Contemporaneously, the Grand Lodge of France and the GLTSO, together with the Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia, formed the United Grand Lodges of Europe. A number of European Grand Lodges (and several outside Europe) have since joined, but none with mainstream recognition. Two groups split from the GLNF: lodges formerly under the Great Priory of the Gauls, and a small group of lodges in the South which formed the Grand Lodge of Massalia & St. Vincent.

2001 – The GLNF and the Grand Orient of France signed a treaty restoring fraternal relations, followed four months later by an ‘Administrative and Disciplinary Protocol’ which ‘did not constitute formal recognition’ but which agreed to supply lists of brethren struck off or excluded, and profanes rejected, and to consult on all decisions of acceptance of brethren from one Obedience to the other. The GLNF rejected a similar treaty with the Grand Lodge of France.