mobile View, to the German Version tap the flag

 

France

 

Contents

today's Flags

Historical Flags

Meaning/Origin of the Flag

Coat of Arms

Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms

Aircraft Roundel

Cockade

Map

Map of the historical regions in France

Explanations about the Regions

Numbers and Facts

History

Possessions (Colonies)

Origin of the Country's Name



today's Flags

Flagge Fahne national flag National flag Frankreich France Trikolore
National flag,
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: Corel Draw 4




Flagge Fahne merchant naval flag Merchant flag Naval flag Frankreich France
Merchant and naval flag,
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: Wappen und Flaggen aller Nationen


Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Fischereiaufsicht Fisheries Patrol
Flag of the Fisheries Patrol,
ratio = 2:3,
use douptful,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France U-Boote submarines
Flag for submarines,
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: Flaggen Europas





Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Präsident president
1974–1981,
Flag of the President,
Source, by: Flaggen und Wappen




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Verteidigungsminister Minister of Defense
Flag of the Minister of Defense,
ratio = 1:1,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France General
Flag for Generals (here Army-General),
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Admiral
Flag for Amirals,
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Vize Vice Admiral
Flag for Vize-Amirals,
ratio = 1:1,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Konter Rear Admiral
Flag for Rear-Amirals,
ratio = 1:1,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Kapitäne zur See Commodore
Flag for Commodores,
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: FOTW



hoch/up


Historical Flags

Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom
12th cent. to 1365,
State flag and royal standard,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom
1365 to 15th cent.,
State flag and royal standard,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom Merchant flag merchant flag
17th cent. to 1790,
Merchant flag,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom Merchant flag merchant flag
17th cent. to 1790,
Merchant flag for ships in royal order,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom Merchant flag merchant flag
17th cent. to 1790, 1814–1830,
naval and war flag, and
merchant flag for royal vessels,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom Standarte standard König King royal
17th cent. to 1790,
State flag and royal standard,
Source, by: Sodacan [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Königreich Kingdom Bourbon
17th cent. to 1790,
Flag of the royal house of Bourbon,
Source, by: Zippanova [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons




Flagge Fahne national flag National flag Frankreich France
1790–1794,
National flag,
Source, by: Die Welt der Flaggen




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France Napoleon Standarte standard
1805–1815,
Standard of Napoléon,
Source, by: Die Welt der Flaggen




Flagge Fahne pilot flag Frankreich France Lotsenflagge
Pilot flag (Pilot Call flag),
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: Flags of the World, FOTW,
This type of flag was abolished in the 20th century, today is:
Flagge H Pilot on board
Flagge H Call for Pilot





Flagge Fahne flag Freies Frankreich Free France
1940–1945,
Flag of "Free France",
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: FOTW




Flagge Fahne flag Frankreich France EhrenNaval jack honour jack
Honour-jack for Second World War vessels
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: FOTW



hoch/up


Meaning/Origin of the Flag

The today's flag of France shows the colors blue, white and red in three vertical stripes, and is named "The Tricolor". It is considered to be the first and famousest national flag in the world, and it was model for many flags in the world. The colors blue, white and red have their roots in the combination of the colors of the town Paris (blue and red) with the royal white of the Bourbons. They were officially introduced on the 4th of October in 1789 for the french cockade. The today's arrangement and sequence of the flag's colors were designated not until the year 1794.

The history of the flags of France begins with the Franks. King Clovis designated about the year 500 the blue cloak of St. Martin as field sign and as a sign of victory, which was also presented in a plain blue flag. The cloak was captured in 1356 by the English and it was lost. Another important flag was the "oriflamme" of Charlemagne. It was handed over to him by Pope Leo III. at the imperial coronation on Christmas in the year 800. It was a red flag with golden embroidery, which showed a sun and its rays. Presumably it had a number of ends that could explain its name "oriflamme". Auri Flamme means Golden Flame. This flag was captured in 1415 by the British, too, and it was lost.

King Clovis replaced – inspired by a dream he had at the time of his own baptism – golden toads on one of his blue banners by golden lilies. Lilies were and are widely regarded as the symbol of the Virgin Mary. The motif of that banner banner, a plain blue bunting sewn with golden lilies, was possibly rediscovered by King Louis VI. in the early 12th century, and it became re-created as the Banner of France. The lily banner became widespread, because it was more than just a famous single piece like its predecessors. It became the royal and even national symbol, that was also adopted by the Valois (1429-1589) and by the Bourbons (1594-1792). The Capetians, who became kings of France in 987, took over from the Merovingians Clovis's blue coat of arms, sprinkled with golden lilies. From 1365 (other sources mention 1376), however, the number of lilies was reduced to three, which was also practiced on the banners.

The color white as the royal color of the Bourbons – supposedly originated in the banner of Jeanne d'Arc – has become more and more important with the beginning of their rule. By royal decree, a single-coloured white flag in 1638 was introduced as merchant and sea flag. From 1661 it was allowed for individuals to use as merchant flag a blue flag with a white cross. When they were at sea in royal order they had to use this merchant flag added by the crowned lily shield of France (version as greater coat of arms) in the middle. Only royal ships continued to use the white flag. This rule was renewed in 1661, 1670 and 1765. The single coloured, white flag let us of course think about surrender, what is quite right. However, there was – if you wanted to capitulate in the 17th and 18th centuries – initially a practice to use a bunting in the colours of the enemy. In this way they surrendered at that time against the French, with their white flag. A white cloth was readily available and at hand, so that this tradition prevailed, and white is until today the colour of surrender and of the peace envoys.

For ceremonial purposes there also existed a white, with golden lilies sprinkled flag, that represented the House of Bourbon. When the king was present, was used this white, with golden lilies sprinkled flag, added by the by two angels held greater arms of France in the middle. These regulations were partially re-introduced with the restoration of the monarchy in 1814, but were abolished again in favor of blue-white-red in 1830 with the beginning of the reign of the "citizen king" Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans.

Source: Flaggen Wappen Hymnen, FOTW, Das Flaggenbuch, Fahnen und Flaggen, Die Welt der Flaggen

hoch/up


Coat of Arms


Frankreich France wappen coat of arms
17./18th cent.,
Coat of arms of France


Siegel seal Frankreich France wappen coat
since 1848,
State-Seal of France,
Source, by: Corel Draw 4


Siegel seal Frankreich France wappen coat
since 1953,
Symbol of the state of France,
Source, by: Hans-Ulrich Herzog,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

hoch/up


Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms

King Clovis replaced – inspired by a dream he had at the time of his own baptism – golden toads on one of his blue banners by golden lilies. Lilies were and are widely regarded as the symbol of the Virgin Mary. The motif of that banner banner, a plain blue bunting sewn with golden lilies, was possibly rediscovered by King Louis VI. (Capetians) in the early 12th century, and it became re-created as the Banner of France. The Capetians, who became kings of France in 987, took over from the Merovingians Clovis's blue coat of arms, sprinkled with golden lilies. From 1365 (other sources mention 1376), however, the number of lilies was reduced to three. From the end of the 16th century, the coat of arms of France was also combined with the coat of arms of Navarre. After the revolution (1789) only an emblem was introduced that showed a bundle of lictors in an oak wreath. In 1799 a blue shield was adopted as the coat of arms, with a golden eagle holding thunderbolts and lightnings in its claws. This symbol was placed on an imperial coat of arms from 1804 to 1814 (Napoléon I.). After the restoration, the lilies were relevant again until 1831. After that there were used often changing symbols, the goddess of freedom, bundles of lictors or the letter combination RF, also EF. Sometimes a wreath of oak and olive branches appears (northern and southern France). Since 1848 France uses a state seal, which shows the goddess of freedom with a bundle of lictors (symbol of the law) and diverse allegorical objects.

Source: Die Welt der Flaggen, Wikipedia (D)

hoch/up


Aircraft Roundel

Flugzeugkokarde Kokarde aircraft roundel kockade Frankreich France
Aircraft roundel,
Source, by: Wikipedia (EN)

Flugzeugkokarde Kokarde aircraft roundel kockade Frankreich France
Aircraft roundel for Naval Aviation,
Source, by: Wikipedia (EN)

Flugzeugkokarde Kokarde aircraft roundel kockade Frankreich France
1940–1944,
Aircraft roundel of "Free France",
Source, by: Wikipedia (EN)

hoch/up


The origin of the French cockade

The French cockade was – like the naval and war flag, and also the trade flag for royal ships – single-coloured white. White was the royal color of the Bourbons, who ruled over France from 1594 to 1792. The color combination of blue, white and red as the colors of France has its origin in the French revolution of 1789, when blue and red, the colors of the city of Paris, had been combined with the previous white. On the flags this was visible from 1790, and the today's known French flag was introduced in 1794. Presumably there were already blue-red cockades for Paris, and these were simply put on the royal white cockade. Thus a blue-red-white cockade was created as a capstick.
Kokarde Kokarden cockade cockadesKokarde Kokarden cockade cockadesKokarde Kokarden cockade cockadesKokarde Kokarden cockade cockadesKokarde Kokarden cockade cockades
In the years 1804-1805, the cockade was officially changed in blue-white-red, which could not be fully achieved, because the old and experienced soldiers preferred to keep the old cockade, with the intention to distinguish themselves from the inexperienced newcomers with the new cockade.
Kokarde Kokarden cockade cockades
The after revolution and the era of Napoleon following defeat of France, the Bourbon monarchy was restored in 1814, and the old monochrome white cockades were introduced again as capsticks. After the revolution of 1830, Louis-Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, became "civil king", and they remembered the color combination of blue, white and red, and the blue-white-red flags and cockades were reintroduced an keeped valid until today.

Source, by: Jürgen Kaltschmitt, Volker Preuß

hoch/up


Map

Location:

Source: CIA World Factbook

Map of the country:

Source: CIA World Factbook

hoch/up


Map of the historical regions

The historical, French Regions
Frankreich France Map Landkarte Regionen Regions historisch historical
in black: governorate and province in 1776,
in red: former county, province oder governorate

Map: Volker Preuß

hoch/up


Explanations about the Regions

The until the French Revolution existing provinces (or governorates) have been historically grown structures, which had their roots oftenly in former fiefdoms of the French crown, historic counties and duchies. They oftenly existed for hundreds of years and had preserved regionality (e.g. cultural particularities and regional languages). On the occasion of the French Revolution such phenomena were of course not desirable, and as part of their bloody and violent egalitarianism any regional references were eliminated. Shortly after the French Revolution the provinces were dissolved and France became divided into many départements, which should have approximately the same size and the same status. The départements were named after rivers or mountains, to use never and in no circumstances the name of an old province. However, there was no success in cutting the connections of the people of France to their respective regions, so that administrative regions were re-created in 1960, to have a better control in regional administrative processes. In this way became départements, which were placed in a historical province, administratively grouped to an oftenly historically named region. The resulted structures coincide only approximately with the boundaries of the old provinces. In the strictly centralist France any regionality is avoided, so that even the official flags of these regions mostly look like flags of companies, unloving, unhistorical, technocratic and modernistic, and these flags should not be a subject of any lexical considerations here. Only in a few of that regions, exist official flags which remember the historical models. But, even the existence of these today's regions is douptful, because in 2014 was passed a territorial reform valid from the year 2016, that reduces the number of the existing regions by merging to nearly the half. However, there exist unofficial flags in nearly all of these regions, which should remember the old provinces and the old heraldry.

Wikipedia Link to the regions of France: click here
FOTW Link to the regions of France: click here

Source: Flags of the World, Wikipedia (D), Volker Preuß

hoch/up


The historical Regions in alphabetical Order

Alençon · Angoumois · Anjou · Aquitaine · Armagnac · Artois · Aunis · Auvergne · Bar · Béarn · Berry · Blois · Bourbonnais · Brittany · Burgundy · Champagne · Dauphiné · Alsace (Elsass) · Fézensac · Flanders · Foix · Franche-Comté · Gascony · Guyenne · Île de France · Corsica · Languedoc · Limousin · Lorraine (Lothringen) · Lyonnais · Maine · Marche · Navarra · Nivernais · Nice · Normandy · Orléanais · Périgord · Picardy · Poitou · Provence · Roussillon · Saintonge · Savoy · Touraine · Valois · Venaissin · Vendée · Vermandois


Numbers and Facts

Area: 643.801 km²

Inhabitants: 68.084.217 (2021), thereof 77% Frenchmen, 7,3% Italians, 6% Algerians and Moroccans, 4,4% Occitanians, 1,5% Germans (Alsacians, Lorrainians), 0,4% Catalans, 0,3% Bretons, 0,2% Corses, 0,2% Flemish, 0,2% Basques

Religions: 40% Roman Catholic, 5% Muslim, 2% Protestant, 0,3% Jewish, 51% Non-Religious

Density of Population: 274 inh./sq.mi.

Capital: Paris, 2.175.601 inh. (2018)

official Language: French

other Languages: regional languages: e.g. Occitan, German a.s.o.

Currency: 1 Euro (€) = 100 Cent

Time Zone: GMT + 1 h

Source: 1) Wikipedia (D), 2) Wikipedia (D), CIA World Factbook, Volker Preuß

hoch/up


History

880 · France arises per partition of the Frankish Empire

987 · vanish of the Carolingians

987–1328 · reign of the Capetingians

1339–1453 · English-French war

1429–1589 · reign of the Valois house

1461–1483 · reign of Ludwig XI.: Burgundy, Anjou, Maine and Provence come to the French crown

1483–1498 · reign of Karl VIII.: the Brittany comes to the French crown

1572–1705 · Huguenot wars

2nd of August in 1589 · Henry III., king of France, dies after an assassination, the house Valois dies out, Henry III. designates his brother-in-law Henry III., King of Navarre from the house of Bourbon, as his successor

25th of July in 1593 · Henry III., King of Navarre, converts to Catholicism

27th of February in 1594 · Henry III. is crowned as Henry IV. to the king of France

1789 · revolution, the king gets unseated

1791 · France becomes a constitutional monarchy

1792 · France becomes republic ("First Republic")

1792–1795 · terror of the jacobins

1793 · execution of king Louis XVI.

1795–1799 · reign of the "directorate"

9th of November in 1799 · coup d'état by Napoléon Bonaparte

1802 · Bonaparte becomes consul

1804 · Bonaparte becomes emperor (Napoléon I.)

1804–1815 · Napoléonic wars in Europe

1814 · Ludwig XVIII., Bourbon house, brother of Louis XVI., becomes king

1830 · Louis-Philippe, duke of Orleans, becomes "bourgeois king"

1848 · revolution, fall of the monarchy, declaration of the republic ("Second Republic"), prince Louis Napoléon (nephew of Napoléon I.) becomeBretagnes president

1851 · coup d'état by Louis Napoléon

1852 · Louis Napoléon becomes emperor of France as Napoléon III.

1870 · a as result of the German-French gets the monarchy unseated, declaration of the "Third Republik"

1871 · France cedes Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire

1914–1918 · first world war, France belongs to the victorious powers (allies)

1920 · Alsace-Lorraine comes back to France, France occupies the Saar region and the Rhineland

1930 · France withdrews from the Rhineland

1935 · the Saar region comes back to the German Empire

3rd of September in 1939 · declaration of war to the German Empire

May 1940 · invasion of German troops, defeat of France in 6 weeks

22nd of June in 1940 · cease fire, France becomes a associate of the German Empire

1944 · occupation of France by allied troops and the resistance under de Gaulle

1946 · new constitution ("Fourth Republic")

1951 · Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, found the EEC (the later EU)

1958 · new constitution ("Fifth Republic")

1963 · agreement about German-French cooperation

Source: Atlas zur Geschichte, Wikipedia (D), Volker Preuß

hoch/up


Possessions (Colonies)

French Polynesia
Wallis and Futuna (Alo, Sigave, Uvea)
New Caledonia
Martinique
Guadeloupe
Mayotte
Réunion
Saint Martin
St. Pierre and Miquelon
Saint Barthélemy
French Southern and Antarctic Lands
French Guyana

French colonies do nearly all not have an own officiall flag. There is to hoist the French Tricolor. But for touristic or regional purpose some colonies have unofficial flags.

Source: Die Welt der Flaggen

hoch/up


Origin of the Country's Name

The name "France" goes back to the Old High German word "frank", which means "free" or "independent".

Source: Atlas der wahren Namen

hoch/up





to start page click here