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Five Fun Facts on the French Flag

French Flag


French Flag

The "tricolour" flag is one of the most recognised flags of the world and is proudly flown from many public buildings in France.  You'll also see it out in force at important events and on ceremonial occasions in France. 

We've uncovered five fascinating facts about the French flag. 


1.  The French flag is known as the “Le drapeau tricolore” as it has three equal vertical bands of blue, white, and red.

2.  The white in the flag represents the Bourbon monarchy which ruled France from the late 16th Century AD until the French Revolution.  It’s also the colour of the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc.  Red and blue are the colours of the city of Paris.

3.  When first adopted in 1790, the flag colours were in the opposite order of red, white and then blue. 

4.  In 1794 that the colors were reversed to create the French flag we know today, except for a brief period (1814-1830) when the Bourbon monarchy returned to power after the defeat of Napoleon in Battle of Waterloo in 1815.  During this time, they used a plain white flag.

5.  The current flag is one and a half times wider than its height and has stripes of equal width, but this was not always the case.  The initial design was in the proportions of 30 (blue), 33 (white) and 37 (red). Under Napoleon I, this was changed to make the stripes equal width. 

However, in 1853, a regulation allowed the French Navy to go back to the 30:33:37 proportions.  Even so, you may think navy flags look equal as the flapping of the flag makes portions farther from the flag pole seem smaller.