Flag of France

Flag of France
Country France
Population 64,756,584 (2023)
Area (Km²) 547,557 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇫🇷
  hex rgb
#002654 0, 38, 84
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#ED2939 237, 41, 57

The flag of France or "bleu blanc rouge", which means blue white red in French, consists of three vertical stripes of equal size in the appropriate sequence. The flag of France was approved on May 20, 1794.

What do the colors of the French flag mean?

White, red, and blue were the colors of the uniforms of the Parisian National Guard at the time, as well as red and blue were the colors of the City of Light (Paris). This color scheme was also in line with the neoclassical trend of the time, which included stripes on men's clothing, as well as on wallpaper, architecture, and decorations. In practice, the choice of colors did not matter much. Over time, a beautiful legend developed that:

  • White represents the king;
  • blue and red are the colors of Paris;
  • The combination of white, blue and red represents the union of the king and the people of France as a single entity.

There is another theory to explain the meaning of the French tricolor. During the French Revolution, the slogan "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" was first used, which means freedom, equality, and brotherhood. And it is the tricolor that is considered to be the embodiment of the principles of the revolution, where:

  • blue - freedom;
  • white - equality;
  • red - brotherhood.

Raoul Girardet is an expert on French nationalism, a professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, who is credited with the statement that "the tricolor was born at the same time as the French nation." He argues that it was during the French Revolution that blue and red, the colors of Paris since the rebellion of Marseille Mayor Etienne against royal rule in the 14th century, and white, the color of military command that became the color of the monarchy, gradually merged to symbolize the nation.

Who else uses the blue, white, and red tricolor?

What flag is similar to the flag of France

Not only does France use blue, white, and red in its flag, but only the French have them arranged vertically. The flag of the Netherlands and the flag of Luxembourg are almost identical in appearance: they have three horizontal stripes of red, white and blue in the corresponding order, only the flag of Luxembourg has a lighter shade of blue. They most closely resemble the flag of France. There are also other flags that use these colors, such as the Croatian flag, which is a red, white, and blue tricolor with the coat of arms in the middle in the form of a shield with a crown on which five coats of arms are placed, the flag of Paraguay, which has the same color sequence but the Paraguayan coat of arms in the center with the inscription "Republica Del Paraguay", and the Czech Republic flag, which is the least similar to the French flag because it has only a similarity in colors but a completely different arrangement: A white and red stripe with a blue wedge on the left side that unites the two colors.

History of the French flag

Cédric de Fougérolle is the president of the French Society of Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum - flag and Greek λογοs - science). He spoke about the origin of the flag as follows - "The origin of the flag is still historically unclear. What is certain, however, is that the "bleu blanc rouge" flag was introduced in July 1789 to mark the political transition from monarchy to sovereign nation. It was first used in the capital and then in the provinces. Before becoming a flag, the tricolor was used in the form of ribbons, banners, cockades, etc. It is a combination of the neoclassical fashion of the late 18th century and the rapid development of political ideas in the 19th century. As for its graphic choice, the tricolor in the form of stripes became widespread in the summer of 1789 and reached its peak at the Federation Day on July 14, 1790. Then, in October 1790, the principle of three tricolor stripes of equal size was established, and in February 1794 the order was finally established: blue, white, red."
Today, the French tricolor can be seen on all government buildings. It is used at most official ceremonies, both civilian and military. But the tricolor has been threatened several times.  Its blue and red colors were removed during the restoration of the monarchy from 1814 to 1830, and only the royal white remained. The tricolor was proudly restored during the "Three Glorious Days" of July 27, 28, and 29, 1830, proclaimed as a sign of republican unity against Charles X. Louis-Philippe agreed to return the blue, white, and red flag, proclaiming that "the nation had regained its colors." On February 25, 1848, during the proclamation of the Republic, the rebels demanded a completely red flag. It was Lamartine who, as a poet, was able to find the words, and as a politician, to rally the crowd to save the national flag.

...the tricolor has traveled the world with the Republic and the Empire, with your freedoms and your glory. [...] If you take away the tricolor, understand that you will take away half of France's external power, because Europe knows the flag of its defeats and our victories in the flag of the Republic and the Empire. When they see the red flag, they will see the flag of the party! It is the flag of France, it is the flag of our victorious armies, it is the flag of our triumphs that we must raise before Europe.  France and the tricolor are the same thought, the same prestige, even terror, if necessary, for our enemies!

Alphonse de Lamartine