"Fascism in France developed in parallel to its development in Italy, Germany, and Spain. It represented a modern form of conservative authoritarian politics. Conservatives were unhappy with the changes that had taken place in modern society. They liked things simple: one religion, one political party, one leader. Their enemies were anyone who believed in a democratic form of government, freedom of press, religion, and speech. In particular, however, they hated anyone who wanted to use the government to redistribute wealth, even if only by allowing for universal public education and freedom of economic opportunity. They were absolutely opposed to any form of socialism, including (i.e. not just) its authoritarian form, Communism.
[ from http://www.iiipublishing.com/politics/fascism/Pétain1.html ]
Fascists typically fought to win control of government both through elections and through violence. In France there were a variety of fascist groupings struggling for power in the 1930's, using varying tactics. At the same time they exerted pressure on the elected government of France to ally with fascist Germany against Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. After Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France declared war on Germany, there is considerable evidence that the Pope ( Pius XII ) came close to negotiating a deal in which France would make peace with Germany and join in an invasion of Russia. In the end Hitler lost patience with the process and invaded France.
It was suspected by many in France that Philippe Pétain and other pro-fascist officers in the French army had a great deal to do with the ease with which the German army breached France's defenses. At the very least Marshall Pétain, while the fighting progressed, lobbied the French government to surrender. . .
Any doubts about Philippe Pétain and the Vichy regime being fascists must be cast aside when the actual policies of that government are examined. Elections were ended. Unions were dissolved. Industry was structured along the lines of the fascist corporate system. The Catholic Church became the official religious institution. Jews in particular were discriminated against. Socialists and communists were arrested and sometimes executed without trial [A History of Modern France, Volume 2, by Alfred Cobban, page 304 and 311]."