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The symbols of France

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

The French Republic is represented by many symbols that you will see in particular in certain public institutions (town halls, prefectures, schools...). Here are the main symbols of France:

The red white blue flag

french flag blue white red

It is visible in town halls, courts, schools, or in stadiums when France is playing.

White was the color of the king. Blue and red were the colors of the city of Paris. Imagined during the French Revolution, in 1789, the tricolor French flag officially became the emblem of France on February 15, 1794. The alliance of the three colors was the symbol of the alliance of the king and the people, and remains the symbol of a united France.

The national anthem: La Marseillaise

The national anthem is originally a war song and was composed during the French Revolution, when the French were torn as they had to unite to face attacks from enemy countries. Even today, when we sing it, we forget what divides us and we remember that we are all French.

La Marseillaise is chanted at certain events such as at the start of football matches or on July 14 (National Day).

The entire song is very long, but only the first verse and the chorus are sung:

Let's go child of the fatherland

The day of glory has arrived

Tyranny against us

The bloody standard is raised

The bloody standard is raised

Get along in the countryside

How to roar those fierce soldiers?

They come into your arms

Slaughter your sons, your companions

To arms, citizens

Form your battalions

Let's walk, let's walk

Only unclean blood

Water our furrows


The motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

The motto of the French Republic since 1848, it is now inscribed on many public buildings and official documents, often accompanied by the tricolor flag.

- Liberté" because all French citizens are born free.

- Égalité" because they have the same rights before the law.

- Fraternity" because all citizens owe each other solidarity, regardless of their origins, religion or skin color.


Marianne symbol of France, freedom guiding the people

We easily recognize Marianne because she always wears a hat and she is always represented with her bust bare.

She appears on postage stamps and her statue can be found in all the town halls of France. Marianne is the face chosen during the French Revolution, she embodies Liberty and the Republic. She wears a cap which is called Phrygian cap. This is the cap worn by slaves in ancient times when they were freed by their master. It represents the liberation of the people.

He is also France's mascot for the 2024 Olympics.

phrygian hats mascots of the paris olympic games 2024
The "Phryges", Phrygian caps mascots of the 2024 Olympics

The tricolor cockade

tricolor cockade symbol of France

Widely used during the French Revolution (May 5, 1789 to November 9, 1799), the tricolor cockade was originally a military badge that later became a symbol of revolutionary affiliation. Wearing a cockade was even compulsory at a certain point in history, and Marianne has always worn it proudly on her hat. The counter-revolutionaries wore the white cockade which symbolizes royalty. It is one of the key symbols of France during the French Revolution.

The Rooster

Gallic rooster symbol of France

The French emblem representing a rooster was born in the Renaissance. Its origin is thought to be traced back to Latin, the "rooster" being called gallus like the word "Gallic" (the inhabitants of Gaul, the ancient name of France).

It was only during the Revolution that it gained importance by replacing the royal lily. However, he will not resist Napoleon and his Imperial Eagle. 🦅

Nowadays, the rooster is still visible, but especially during sports competitions. It is one of the symbols of France used in sport, especially for French national teams. It is found, for example, on the jerseys of the players of the French football team.

Its cry cocorico is an onomatopoeia that serves to show a certain patriotism, a French pride.

For example: France won the World Cup. Cocorico!

The sower

the sower symbol of France

Present on some French coins and stamps, the sower is a representation

It's about a woman wearing a Phrygian cap (yes, him again!) and sowing seeds in the sun. It's an allegory of Marianne, or of the French Republic, illustrating the influence of republican ideas disseminated by France throughout the world and the spirit of freedom.

Oscar Roty, the engraver who created La Semeuse said: "These seeds that she generously sows to the earth are the countless ideas that can- to be one day will germinate and rise, when we are no longer there." Poetic, right?

What are the symbols of your country?

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