If we buy an iPhone from every country may have different rule. Since 2007 Apple iPhone and T-Mobile in Germany have been required to offer the iPhone in both locked and unlocked version. But in France you may find a better deal for a no-contract iPhone in Europe. Buy phone cell more free in China or other Asian countries like Indonesia.
Europe rule have been long time applying of buying phones cell without a contract, but in USA prepaid and unlocked phones in Germany and Europe have been very popular for years. By law in Germany and France you can buy an unlocked iPhone from T-Mobile or Orange. And iPhone is officially unlocked by Apple, without any software/SIM card hacks and without any worries about possible future firmware problems.
Consumer in US have to endure fewer protections for and more restrictions on phone cell buyer than in Europe. Unlocked (no-contract) phone cell are cheaper and more widely available in Europe than in US.