About 7,000 same-sex couples tied the knot in France last year after equal marriage was legalised in May, the national statistics agency has said.

The figure represents 3% of all marriages performed in France.

According to the national statistics institute, Insee, the average age of same-sex couples is higher than that of heterosexual couples, at 50 for men and 43 for women, compared to 37 and 34.

Three out of five same-sex marriages are between men, the same proportion for civil partnerships, which are known as Pacs.

Same-sex marriages reached their high point in September, when 1,500 took place and 14% were conducted in Paris and a quarter in cities of over 200,000 inhabitants.

The proportion is expected to fall since many couples were believed to have been waiting for the legislation to be passed in order to wed.

In May 2013, Bruno Boileau and Vincent Autin became the first same-sex couple to marry in the southern city of Montpellier.

France legalised same-sex marriage in April after months of intense and sometimes violent protests, in keeping with an election pledge by Socialist President Francois Hollande, who faced a huge backlash from the opposition right and the Catholic Church.

In October, France’s highest court ruled that mayors cannot refuse to hold same-sex weddings in the country.