The New Yorker published an article discussing French legislation restricting freedom of speech. Unfortunately, they get it factually wrong on at least two counts.

At the same time, France’s press laws, which date to the late nineteenth century, make it a crime to “provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence toward a person or group of persons because of their origin or belonging to a particular ethnicity, nation, race, or religion.” 

This paragraph seems to imply that France's press laws, as adopted in 1881, made it a crime to provoke discrimination or hated against ethnicities or religions. How anachronistic! In the late nineteenth century, public speech in France was often openly racist: in the National assembly, in newspapers, men debated the appropriateness of colonizing the “inferior races”... The prohibitions on racial hate speech came in acts adopted in 1939 (Marchandeau act) and 1972 (Pleven act), which amended the 1881 law. (*)

There is a law, for example, passed in 1881, against insulting the head of state […] According to French law, the President of the Republic can insult you, but you can’t insult him—even with his own words.

This law (actually, the part of the 1881 act dealing specifically with offenses against the head of state) was repealed in 2013.

(*) The 1939 law was motivated by the jew-baiting of far-right journalists and writers, many of which would collaborate with the Nazis after the invasion of France.