Although maybe not the most fashionable area of study today, French science has a secure place in the classical canon of the history of science. Like the Scientific Revolution and Italian science at the beginning of the seventeenth century, French science, particularly eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century French science, remains a safe, albeit conservative, bet in terms of history-of-science teaching and research. The classic trope of the passage of the flame of European science from Italy to Britain and France in the seventeenth and then eighteenth centuries is well established in overviews of the field. Specializing in research in this area is not, therefore, unreasonable as a career choice if you are aiming for a history-of-science position in Europe or even in the US. The Académie (royale) des sciences, with its state-sponsored model of collective research, provides a striking counterpoint to the amateur, more individualistic functioning of London's Royal Society – a foretaste of modernity in the institutionalization of science. Clearly naive, such a representation of French science serves as a good initial framework on which to hang half a century of critical historical research. If proof of the continued interest for eighteenth-century French science is needed, we can cite the Web-based project around Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie currently in progress under the auspices of the French Academy of Sciences. The large number of publications in the history of French science (in English as well as French) make it unreasonable to pick out one or two for special attention here. But what about history of science in France and the academic community that practises this discipline today? Here, I offer a very personal view and analysis of this community, trying to underline contrasts with the history of science in the UK and the US.