French coat of arms

French coat of arms

The current French coat of arms has been a symbol of the country since 1953. Learn some facts about the French coat of arms. How does it look like? What is the history of it? What do the symbols mean? All answers are below.


Since the late 12th century the arms of France were golden fleur-de-lis scattered on a blue background. In 1376 it was changed to just three fleur-de-lis arranged two and one.


Nowadays the French coat of arms consists of a wide shield with, on the one end a lion-head and on the other – an eagle-head, bearing a monogram “RF” standing for République Française (French Republic). A laurel branch symbolizes victory of the Republic, the oak branch symbolizes wisdom, and the faces are a symbol associated with justice (the bundle of rods and an axe, carried by Roman lectors).

National emblem

The current national emblem of France has been a symbol of the country since 1953, although it does not have any legal status as an official coat of arms. The design was drawn up by the sculptor Jules-Clément Chaplain. It is printed on the cover of French passports and was adopted originally by the French Foreign Ministry as a symbol for use by diplomatic and consular missions during 1912.  It has been used more widely as a symbol of France since 1953.

Important date

The significance of 1953 is that it is the year France was asked by the United Nations for a copy of its national coat of arms – to be displayed alongside the coats of arms of other member states in the UN assembly chamber. An inter-ministerial commission asked Robert Louis (1902-1965), a heraldic artist, to produce a version of the existing design by Chaplain.


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