French Flag

French Flag



The Flag of France - Description of the French Flag
  • As the above picture of the French Flag indicates the overall background is Red, white and blue
  • The description of the French Flag is as follows:
    • Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red known as the French Tricouleur (Tricolor)
  • According to Ancient and Heraldic traditions much symbolism is associated with colors. The colors on the French flag represent the following:
    • White - peace and honesty
    • Red - hardiness, bravery, strength & valour
    • Blue - vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance & justice

  • All Flag pictures depict flags flying, from the viewer's point of view, from left to right
  • The shape and flag ratio of the French flag is described as 2:3 ( length 1½ times the height )
  • The Meaning & History of the French Flag
    • The French Revolution inaugurated the French tricolor flag
    • On 14 July 1790, the Champ de Mars was decked with the tricolor flags to celebrate the federation and became the symbol of the nation
    • July 14 is celebrated as Bastille Day in France
    • The Bastille was a little-used Paris prison which the people stormed in 1789
    • The storming of the Bastille was a symbolic act and initiated the French Revolution and the downfall of the French King and the aristocracy
    • In 1848 the motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" was adopted by the French nation

Canton - Flag Terminology

Flag Terminology - Did you Know ?
  • The design and description uses specific flag terminology based on Heraldic principles
  • Animal blazons should always appear with the heads facing the flag - staff side
  • The Study of the Flags is called Vexillology
  • Your interest in flags makes you a Vexillologist!
  • Increase your knowledge - Play the Flag Quiz
Terminology & Etiquette in French Flag display
  • Hoist - the act or function of raising the French flag, as on a rope
  • Half Staff or Half Mast - the French flag is hoisted to half of the potential height of the flag pole to denote grief and mourning
    • Performed by first raising the French flag to the top, then lowering the French Flag halfway
  • Manner of hoisting - The French flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously
  • No disrespect should be shown to the French flag
  • The French flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit the Flag to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way
  • The French flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing on the flag of any nature
  • The French flag should be hoisted first and lowered last
  • International Flag relating to French Flag usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace
  • We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding French Flag Etiquette has provided a useful resource.
Flag History & Evolution:
  • The idea of flying a flag grew from the requirements of ancient warfare and the battlefield
  • Shields were painted with emblems to identify Friend or Foe
  • Warriors needed to know where their leaders were - the custom of carrying a pole was adopted
  • An emblem such as a shield, animal or religious device was attached to the pole for identification
  • The emblems were also used for identity and to cover suits of armour - Coats of Arms  were born
  • These emblems were the forerunners of modern flags
  • The Romans were the first to use a cloth flag - they were square and fastened to cross bars at the end of spears - the idea of fastening a flag to the side of a pole soon followed
  • The strict rules of Heraldry are still used when designing an emblem and creating a new flag
French Flag Etiquette
  • French Flag etiquette is very strict and is is essential that Flag protocols and rules are followed correctly
  • Basic Flag Etiquette applies to all nations, including French as follows:
  • Etiquette relating to the order of precedence for the flag
    • National Flag of French
    • State Flag of French
    • Military Flag of French (in order of creation date)
    • Other Flag of French
  • The United Nations uses alphabetical order when presenting a national flag including the French Flag. Their flag etiquette ensures that no one country's flag has precedence over another country's flag
  • The National flag of French should never be flown above another national flag on the same staff as this would suggest superiority, or conversely, inferiority of one flag, or Nation, over another
  • The French flag should never be allowed to drag along the ground
  • A tattered or faded flag of French should be removed and replaced with a new flag
  • Due care and consideration must be taken to ensure that the French flag is always flown the correct way up
  • A Flag of French, when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning in private with all due care and respect

National Flags of the World Map


Location: Western Europe, bordering the
Bay of Biscay and English Channel,
between Belgium and Spain,
southeast of the UK;
bordering the Mediterranean Sea,
between Italy and Spain

  • French Land Size : land: 545,630 sq km
  • French Climate / Weather : generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral
  • French Population : 60,424,213 (July 2004 est.)
  • French Capital City: Paris
  • French GDP: $1.654 trillion (2003 est.)
  • French Main Industries : machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
  • French Agricultural products : wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
  • French Currency : euro (EUR)
  • Main Colors of the French Flag : Red, white and blue
The Celts and Ancient French History
  • Bronze and Iron Age - The emergence of the Celts across Europe
  • 400BC - By this time the ancient culture of the Celts had settled in many European countries including Austria, Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Western Germany, Northern Spain, Turkey and Hungary
  • The Celts were people from various tribes and were called Galli by the Romans and Galatai or Keltoi by the Greeks. These terms all had one meaning in common - barbarian
  • It is from the Greek word Keltoi from which the word Celt is derived
  • Despite the name of Barbarian the Celtic society was based almost entirely on pastoralism and the raising of cattle or sheep
  • 15 BC The Romans had begun to extend their empire. Gallia (in English Gaul) is the Roman name for the region of Europe occupied by the Celts. The word Gaul commonly refers to a Celt inhabitant of that region in ancient times
  • 224 - 220 BC - Rome conquered the Celts
  • 390 BC - The Celts sacked Rome
  • 280 BC - The Celts sacked many Greek cities
  • 390 BC - The Celts sacked Rome
  • 50-100AD - The spread of Christianity
  • 476 AD The Roman Empire collapsed
  • Middle Ages - Various different cultures emerged in the lands of the Celts and the history of each country changed accordingly
  • The above information provides a concise background to the Ancient French civilisations
Concise French History its Flag
  • 768-814 - Charlemagne rules as King of the Franks and is crowned as Holy Roman Emperor
  • 987 - Hugh Capet starts Capetian dynasty
  • 1066 - William, Duke of Normandy, invades England and wins the Battle of Hastings
  • 1189 - 1192 - Crusaders capture Constantinople
  • 1337 - 1443 - Hundred Years' War
  • 1494 - 1559 - Italian Wars- France and Austria fight over Italian lands
  • 1515 - François I crowned French King
  • 1547 - 1559 - Reign of Henry II
  • 1572 - Massacre of Protestants in Paris on St. Bartholomew's Eve. 200,000 Huguenots fled France
  • 1589 - 1593 - Henri IV becomes 1st French Catholic Bourbon King
  • 1608 - Founding of Quebec
  • 1617 - Louis XIII crowned at the age of 17
  • 1624 - Cardinal Richelieu becomes French principal minister
  • 1643 - 1715 - Louis XIV becomes king with Mazarin as French Prime Minister
  • 1715 - Louis XV accedes the throne on 5 May 1789 King Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles to obtain support for new taxes - this prompted the seeds of the French Revolution as the nobles and church were not subjected to taxes
  • June 1789 The French commoners declared themselves a National Assembly giving themselves the power to write a new French constitution
  • 14 July 1789 The Bastille was stormed by the people of Paris
  • 1792 King Louis and Queen Marie-Antoinette were executed and a republic was set up in France
  • 1793 Napoleon Bonaparte was named a general during the war with Prussia and Austria
  • 1799 - 1814 Napoleon seized control of France and began building a French empire
  • 1815 Napoleon defeated at Waterloo and was exiled
  • 1815 The Bourbons were returned to the French throne
  • 1824 Charles X became king
  • July 1830 Charles X was overthrown during the July Revolution of 1830
  • 1848 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon, was elected to a four-year term as French president
  • 1851 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte seized power
  • 1852 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself Emperor Napoleon III
  • 1870 France declared war on Prussia and Emperor Napoleon III is overthrown
  • 1914-1918 World War I - Germany invades France
  • 3 September 1939 France and the United Kingdom declare war on Germany starting World War II
  • 14 June 1940 German troops enter Paris
  • 25 August 1944 Allied troops regain Paris and Charles De Gaulle becomes head of a provisional government
  • August 1945 The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • 1956 Morocco and Tunisia granted their independence
  • 3 July 1962 Algeria became independent

The French Flag and Nation

We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding the French Flag and Country has provided a useful educational resource. To improve your knowledge of Flags and Vexillology still further check out the Flags and Nations Index and test your knowledge with our interactive, multi-choice, picture-based Flag Trivia Quiz Game - it's fast and it's fun! If you answer all questions correctly you will earn the right to enter the Vexillologist Hall of Fame!


French Flag

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