The National Flag of France

The French national flag, also known as the Tricolour, consists of three vertical bands of blue, white, and red. Its design was adopted following the French Revolution, influenced by the red-white-blue flag of the Netherlands. Although not the first tricolour, it became highly influential in history, symbolizing opposition to autocratic and clericalist regimes.

Initially, during the French Revolution, the colours were combined in a cockade, with blue and red representing Paris. The law of 27 pluviôse, Year II (February 15, 1794), officially established the Tricolour as the national flag, with blue positioned nearest to the flagstaff as recommended by painter Jacques-Louis David.

Throughout the 19th century, the Tricolour faced opposition from royalists, who favoured the blue of the legitimist royalists. However, it was reinstated by King Louis-Philippe, who added the Gallic rooster atop it. During the Revolution of 1848, while the provisional government adopted the Tricolour, rebels on the barricades waved a red flag to signify their revolt.

Under the Third Republic, the Tricolour gradually gained acceptance, becoming a symbol of patriotism by the late 19th century. Even though some royalists opposed it, during the First World War, they eventually rallied around it.

The constitutions of 1946 and 1958 solidified the Tricolour as the national emblem of the Republic. Today, it adorns all public buildings, is displayed during national commemorations, and is honoured with a defined ceremony. It often serves as a backdrop during addresses by the French President, sometimes alongside the European flag or the flag of another country, depending on the occasion.

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