The centrepiece of this work is the French Constitution of 1958, portrayed by the author as an innovative hybrid construct whose arrival brought the constitutional stability that had eluded France for centuries. But the creation of the 1958 Constitution was not an isolated act; it represents part of an evolutionary process which continues to this day. Even though it is codified, the constitution of the Fifth Republic has evolved so markedly that some commentators have dubbed the present institutional balance the 'Sixth Republic'. It is this dynamic of the constitution which this book seeks to explain. At the same time the book shows how the French constitution has not developed in isolation, but reflects to some extent the global movement of ideas, ideas which sometimes challenge the very foundations of the 1958 Constitution.