|During the 19th century, illegitimacy becomes more and more frequent in French cities. Meanwhile, abandonment is strongly declining. Does it mean that a new way of family life, without marriage, appears during the period 1850-1900 ?
This paper proposes a synthesis about illegitimacy in one of the main French cities, Lyon, whose population grew from 300,000 to 450,000 inhabitants between 1850 and 1900. The different forms of illegitimate behaviours are examined: cohabitation without marriage, bith of illegitimate children, legitimation of children born before marriage, abandonment, taking back of previously abandoned children.