As far as I know, French rifles, until the adoption of semi-autos, never had safety mechanisms.
They were designed to be carried chamber empty, magazine full. It was apparently felt that cycling the bolt to load the rifle when needed was far preferable to carrying around a rifle with a loaded chamber, even one with a safety.
Probably some validity to that theory.
Two things about French military history:
1. Sure, those funny "never fired, dropped once" oneliners are "funny," pretty much in the same way that your buddy getting hit in the groin with a football is "funny."
But, they don't have much basis in reality. While I'm not a particular fan of the French, I'm more than willing to have a discusion on the quality of the French as military personnel, because in general, they don't have a lot to be ashamed of.
2. The next person who comes across with one of those 'oh so humorous statements on French military prowess'?
I promise you I will chuckle you as I ban you from farther participation at TFL.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.