French flag

French flag

National Flag of France is called the Tricolore. In the article below you will find all the general information you need to know about the French flag. It has some interesting facts about the flag appearance and different theories about the meaning and the origin of its colors.

Tricolor

The French flag – (fr. tricolore drapeau) – was officially adopted on February 15, 1794 and designed by Jacques-Louis David. It consists of three vertical bands of equal width, displaying the country’s national colors: blue, white and red. The blue band is positioned nearest the flag-staff, the white in the middle, and the red on the outside.  The flag’s simple and elegant design truly reflects the humanistic values – liberty, equality, fraternity. The French flag sometimes referred to as a tricolour (UK) or tricolor (US). The naval ensign of France is the same tricolor but with a different aspect ratio.

Meaning of the colours

The meaning behind the colours differs; in fact there are many different theories.

The general agreement is that the colours are red, white, and blue because they stand for the colors of Paris (red and blue) and the House of Bourbon (white).

It is sometimes said that the colours of the French flag represent the three main estates of the ‘Ancien Regime’ of the clergy (white), the nobility (red), and the middle class (blue). Blue, as a symbol of the middle class, comes first and red, representing the nobility, comes last. Both colors are situated on each side of white, referring to a superior order.

How much of this is true is debatable. The revolutionaries were not exactly fond of the nobility and are hardly likely to have agreed with this (or even any other) interpretation of their flag.

Some people think that French flag combines different symbols.

Saint Martin

Blue is the color of Saint Martin, a rich Gallo-Roman officer who ripped his blue cloak with his sword to give one half of it to a poor who was begging him in winter. This is the symbol of care and of the duty that the rich had to help the poor.

Virgin Mary

White is the color of the Virgin Mary, to whom the Kingdom of France was consecrated by Louis XIII in the 17th century. It is also the color of Joan of Arc, under whose banner the English were finally driven out of the Kingdom. It became logically the color of Royalty. The King’s vessels carried plain white flags at sea.

Red is the color of Saint Denis, the saint patron of Paris.

Today, most French people agree that they serve three beautiful colours: the blue of their history, the white of their hopes, and the red of the blood of their ancestors.

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