It's a small law with a big effect. Just 0.003 percent of the French population is affected by the burqa ban - only 2,000 women wear the full-face veil - but ever since it was banned from public life, those who do wear it have found themselves running a daily gauntlet.

"I don't wear it when I leave the house," says 18-year-old high school student Youssra, who wears the niqab against her parents' wishes. "I walk a little way and then I put it on." She's standing one Saturday morning at the market in La Courneuve, near Paris, and she hunts around in her bag for the piece of cloth. Since April 2010, it's been banned on the streets. "I can't wear it at school, and if I go out, I get stupid comments because I'm wearing the veil. It's no life - it's just stress."

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