A special role in Parliament
The Senate represents grass-roots France
The Senate has other tasks besides voting laws and monitoring the government's performance. The 1958 Constitution entrusts it with a special mission: representing the local bodies of the Republic - municipalities, départements and regions - both in metropolitan France and overseas.
In this context, the Senate has adopted a number of laws in recent years to improve the work of local representatives and to guarantee the constitutional principle of autonomous administration by local assemblies. This has made the Senate a watchdog over the devolution of authority. It seeks to promote the idea of a "territorial Republic," which endows local authorities with increased power, which is the sole means of developing a grass-roots type of democracy.
The Senate regularly holds regional meetings of the local office holders.
Watch the debates of the conference organised the 21st February 2008 by the Senate and The Council of Europe : "Bicameral system and representation of regions and local bodies : the role of the second chambers in Europe" (video in english)
In the French Parliament, the Senate is entrusted with the special task of representing the French citizens living abroad and therefore not electing representatives to the National Assembly
The Senate: open minded and tuned in to a world on the move
The two-chamber parliamentary system is spreading world-wide by leaps and bounds. Almost 80 countries have now adopted bicamerism. France 's Senate is making a contribution to this trend by working actively in concert with other Parliaments. It took the lead in the founding of the Association of European Senates which fosters moves to create second chambers in the new democracies. This venture could lead to the creation of a Senate for Europe as a whole.
The Senate also encourages its members to spend time in business companies in order to improve their understanding of how the economy works. The same objective is served by the Senate's Economic Book Fairs and its business oriented dedicated web site.
The Senate is firmly committed to strengthen communication and dialogue with France 's citizens. Its Web sites are visited by a broad public, with special interest from the young generation, the business world and local elected office holders.
The Musée du Luxembourg's exhibitions are planned by the Senate. Both these and the displays on the fences surrounding the Luxembourg gardens meet with great popular success.
The Luxembourg gardens, which belong to the Senate, are a great part of the history and life of the Latin Quarter . They offer the French public and visitors alike a welcome place of leisure in the heart of Paris.