The doctrine of abuse of rights is possibly one of the most curious features of continental private law. Since the doctrine was conceived, it has been called a paradox, a threat to legal certainty, “a gallery of miseries” even, unworthy of the academic and judicial attention it has attracted throughout the last century. Today, however, the growing consensus on the continent seems to perceive (some version of) abuse of rights as part of the general structure of modern private law. Some legal scholars even claim that a common concept of abuse of rights can be discerned in the continental legal traditions. In my presentation, I intend to address these claims by analysing how the doctrine of abuse of rights emerged and then historically developed in France and Germany.