Symbols of the French Republic [fr]

Le drapeau tricolore

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Le drapeau tricolore is the French national flag, comprised of three vertical bands of blue, white, and red. Le drapeau tricolore is a modification of la cocarde tricolore. Although the flag has been altered many times throughout the past 200 years of French history, the current drapeau tricolore was established as the official flag of the Republic of France under the constitutions of 1946 and 1958.

La Marseillaise

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La Marseillaise is the national anthem of France. Written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Isle in 1792, it was originally a rallying cry during the French Revolution. It is entitled La Marseillaise due to its original adoption as the marching song for the National Guard of Marseille. In 1795 it was adopted as the first national anthem of France, and was subsequently banned by both Louis XVIII and Napoleon III. It was not until 1879 that the work was reinstated as the official national anthem.

La Marianne

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The profile of the Marianne appears on the official seal of the country, is engraved on coins, and drawn on stamps and banknotes. The symbol’s roots can be traced back to 1792, when a popular song in the south of France used "Marianne" as a metaphor for the French Republic. The Marianne rose in status during France’s Second Empire under Napoleon III, and gradually evolved into an official symbol of France under the Third Republic (1870-1940). In 1999, a law was passed in France requiring that a new government logo, which incorporates the Marianne, be stamped on every official document produced by the French authorities. The Marianne serves to both unify government public relations and present a modern image of the state.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

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The national motto of France is liberté, egalité, fraternité. The origin of the phrase is ambiguous and heavily disputed, but it is believed to have surfaced during the French Revolution as an amalgamation of slogans used at the time. It was officially institutionalized under the Third Republic at the end of the 19th century, and could be seen inscribed on buildings in France as early as the 1880s. The phrase was enshrined in the 1946 constitution and in Article 2 of the 1958 constitution, where it remains today. The phrase is displayed on the current logo of the French Republic under a tricolor profile of the Marianne, as well as on some French stamps and euro coins. The official slogan of France, like the French flag and the national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” is protected under the French Constitution.

Le coq

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Le coq is one of the most identifiable symbols of France. Inspired by a play on words between the Latin word for rooster, “Gaullus,” and France, “Gaul,” le coq has now become an unofficial national symbol and mascot of France. It has been used intermittently since medieval times on France engravings and coins. Le coq saw its popularity rise during the French Revolution as a sign of France’s identity, and today is one of the most widely recognized symbols, especially in the realm of sports. It is also used by French companies such as Le Coq Sportif and Pathé in their logos.

Le faisceau de licteur

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Another symbol of Roman times, le faisceau de licteur is bundle of wooden sticks with an axe in the center that were carried by lictors, or guards, tasked with protecting the magistrates of the Republic. The French variation isgilded with branches of oak that symbolize justice, olive trees that symbolize peace, and a shield with the initial of the Republic of France (RF) engraved upon it. It is meant to represent the unity of France as “one and indivisible” after the fall of the monarchy, and the strength of French citizens gathered to defend liberty and freedom. In 1913, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adopted the bundle as part of its emblem, and since then it has also come to symbolize the French Republic.

Dernière modification : 18/09/2013

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