President Nicolas Sarkozy benyttet en tale til begge kamre av nasjonalforsamlingen til å si at plagg som burka og niqab ikke har noen plass i Frankrike.
«We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,» Mr Sarkozy told the special session in Versailles.
«That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.
«The burqa is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic,» the French president said.
A group of 58 MPs from the Left and Right has called on Parliament to take action against women adopting what they called oppressive head-to-toe Islamic dress that «breaches individual freedoms».
André Gerin, a Communist MP, led the motion for the latest inquiry, calling the burqa and niqab «a moving prison» for women.
Women’s rights campaigners, including some Islamic groups, have backed the calls for measures to curb the small but growing trend of wearing burqas among France’s five million Muslims.
Fadela Amara, a rights campaigner of Algerian background, who is the Housing Minister, said that was alarmed by the number of women «who are being put in this kind of tomb».
She added: «We must do everything to stop burqas from spreading.»
Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Paris Mosque, supported an inquiry, saying that face covering for women was a fundamentalist practice originating in Afghanistan that was not prescribed by Islam.
But the national Muslim Council, which is less tied to the Establishment, accused politicians of wasting time on a fringe phenomenon.
«To raise the subject like this is a way of stigmatising Islam,» said Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the council.
It is estimated that some 100,000 women, mainly born in France, have taken to full outfits with face covering. In 2004, France banned religious headcoverings in state schools.