This article outlines present and historical national emblems of France, including heraldic coats of arms, first employed in the Middle Ages, as well as more recent, unofficial non- or quasi-heraldic emblems.
The French Republic currently uses two emblems.
|Coat of arms of the French Republic|
|Blazon||Azure, a Fasces surrounded by on the dexter, a wreath of laurel, and to the sinister, a wreath of Oak, over all a ribbon bearing the legend Liberté, égalité, fraternité, all Or.|
|Orders||Collar of the Legion of Honour (1953 version)|
|Period||Escutcheon||Greater version (with achievement)||Description and blazon||Dates used|
|Kingdom||The arms of France Ancient: Azure semé-de-lis or The historical coat of arms of France were the golden fleurs-de-lys on a blue field, used continuously for nearly six centuries (1211-1792). Although according to legend they originated at the baptism of Clovis, who supposedly replaced the three toads that adorned his shield with three lilies given by an angel, they are first documented only from the early 13th century. They were first shown as semé, that is to say without any definite number and staggered (known as France ancient), but in 1376 they were reduced to three, (known as France modern). With this decision, King Charles V intended to place the kingdom under the double invocation of the Virgin (the lily is a symbol of Mary), and the Trinity, for the number. The traditional supporters of the French royal arms are two angels, sometimes wearing a heraldic dalmatic.||Before 1305|
|Arms of France Ancient dimidiated with the arms of Navarre, after king Louis X inherited Navare from his mother Joan I of Navarre in 1305.||1305–1328|
|The arms of France Ancient: Azure semé-de-lis or. After the death of the last direct Capetian in 1328, the kingdom of France passed to the house of Valois through the Salic law, and Navarre passed to the house of Evreux through female line.||1328–1376|
|The arms of France Modern: Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or, a simplified version of France Ancient||1376–1469|
|The arms of France Modern. After the creation of the Order of Saint Michael in 1469, its collar was added to the royal arms.||1469–1515|
|The arms of France Modern. King Francis I changed the open crown traditionally used by his predecessors for a closed one.||1515–1578|
|The arms of France Modern. After the creation of the Order of the Holy Spirit in 1578, its collar was added to the royal arms.||1578–1589|
|The royal arms of the Kingdom of France after the conclusion of the French Wars of Religion. Again the arms of the Kingdom of Navarre impaled with France Moderne, indicating the personal union of the two realms as a result of Henry IV becoming king.||1589–1792|
|Alternative Royal Arms of France.||1790–1792|
|First Republic||Putative heraldic emblem of the First French Republic||1791–1804|
|First Empire||The arms of the First French Empire of Napoleon I, featuring an eagle and inset with "golden bees" as in the tomb of King Childeric I.||1804–1814/1815|
|Kingdom (Bourbon Restoration)||After the Bourbon Restoration, the royal House of Bourbon once more assumed the French crown.||1814/1815–1830|
|Kingdom (July Monarchy)||During the July Monarchy, the arms of the House of Orléans were used.||1830–1831|
|From 1831 onward, the arms of Louis-Philippe were used, depicting the Charter of 1830.||1831–1848|
|Second Empire||The arms of the Second French Empire of Napoleon III, again featuring an eagle.||1852–1870|
|Third, Fourth and Fifth Republic||This composition, which was briefly seen in 1905 during the official visit to France of King Alfonso XIII, reappeared in 1922 in a cartoon by Gustave Jaulmes for a tapestry to be displayed in Strasbourg. In 1929, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied to the German Embassy, which wanted to know the official coat of arms of the Republic, that, "there is no, in principle, official coat of arms or emblem," but that such a composition was used for the French embassies and consulates. The 1935 edition of Le Petit Larousse reproduced this composition in black and white as a symbol of the French Republic. In 1953, an inter-ministry committee chose it in order to meet the request of the United Nations Secretariat, which wanted to adorn the UN assembly hall with panels reproducing the official coats of arms of each member state.
The escutcheon was surrounded by the 1881 version of the grand collar of the Legion of Honour.
|In this version the escutcheon is surrounded by the 1953 version of the grand collar of the Legion of Honour.||1953–present|
This is a list of the national coats of arms or equivalent emblems used by countries and dependent territories in Europe.Armorial of France
This gallery of French coats of arms shows the coats of arms of the Provinces, Régions, and Départements of France, and of certain French cities. They are used to visually identify historical and present-day regions, as well as cities, within France.Charles Pathé
Charles Pathé (French: [pate]; 26 December 1863 – 25 December 1957) was an important pioneer of the French film and recording industries. As the founder of Pathé Frères, its roots lie in 1896 Paris, France, when Pathé and his brothers, pioneered the development of the moving image. Pathé adopted the national emblem of France, the cockerel, as the trademark for his company. After the company, now called Compagnie Générale des Éstablissements Pathé Frères Phonographes & Cinématographes, invented the cinema newsreel with Pathé-Journal.Coat of arms of French Polynesia
The Coat of arms of French Polynesia consists of an outrigger depicted in a disc over a stylized emblem of sun and sea; this is very similar to other arms in the region, for example the Coat of arms of Kiribati.Coat of arms of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The coat of arms of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is the official heraldic symbol of the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. It was designed by Léon Joner.Escutcheon (heraldry)
In heraldry, an escutcheon () is a shield that forms the main or focal element in an achievement of arms. The word is used in two related senses.
First, as the shield on which a coat of arms is displayed. Escutcheon shapes are derived from actual shields used by knights in combat, and thus are varied and developed by region and by era. As this shape has been regarded as a war-like device appropriate to men only, British ladies customarily bear their arms upon a lozenge, or diamond-shape, while clergymen and ladies in continental Europe bear theirs on a cartouche, or oval. Other shapes are in use, such as the roundel commonly used for arms granted to Aboriginal Canadians by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Second, a shield can itself be a charge within a coat of arms. More often, a smaller shield is placed over the middle of the main shield (in pretence or en surtout) as a form of marshalling. In either case, the smaller shield is usually given the same shape as the main shield. When there is only one such shield, it is sometimes called an inescutcheon.
The word escutcheon (late 15th century) is based on Old North French escuchon "shield".Fasces
Fasces (English: , Latin: [ˈfa.skeːs]; a plurale tantum, from the Latin word fascis, meaning "bundle"; Italian: fascio littorio) is a bound bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe with its blade emerging. The fasces had its origin in the Etruscan civilization and was passed on to ancient Rome, where it symbolized a magistrate's power and jurisdiction. The axe originally associated with the symbol, the Labrys (Greek: λάβρυς, lábrys) the double-bitted axe, originally from Crete, is one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization. To the Romans, it was known as a bipennis. Commonly, the symbol was associated with female deities, from prehistoric through historic times.The image has survived in the modern world as a representation of magisterial or collective power, law and governance. The fasces frequently occurs as a charge in heraldry: it is present on the reverse of the U.S. Mercury dime coin and behind the podium in the United States House of Representatives; and it was the origin of the name of the National Fascist Party in Italy (from which the term fascism is derived).
During the first half of the 20th century both the fasces and the swastika (each symbol having its own unique ancient religious and mythological associations) became heavily identified with the authoritarian/fascist political movements of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. During this period the swastika became deeply stigmatized, but the fasces did not undergo a similar process.
The fact that the fasces remained in use in many societies after World War II may have been due to the fact that prior to Mussolini the fasces had already been adopted and incorporated within the governmental iconography of many governments outside Italy. As such, its use persists as an accepted form of governmental and other iconography in various contexts. (The swastika remains in common usage in parts of Asia for religious purposes which are also unrelated to early 20th century European fascism.)
The fasces is sometimes confused with the related term fess, which in French heraldry is called a fasce.Fascist symbolism
As there have been many different manifestations of fascism, especially during the interwar years, there were also many different symbols of fascist movements. Fascist symbolism typically involved nationalist imagery.Flag of France
The flag of France (French: Drapeau français) is a tricolour flag featuring three vertical bands coloured blue (hoist side), white, and red. It is known to English speakers as the French Tricolour or simply the Tricolour (French: Tricolore). The Tricolour has become one of the most influential flags in history, with its three-colour scheme being copied by many other nations, both in Europe and the rest of the world.The royal government used many flags, the best known being a blue shield and gold fleur-de-lis (the Royal Arms of France) on a white background, or state flag. Early in the French Revolution, the Paris militia, which played a prominent role in the storming of the Bastille, wore a cockade of blue and red, the city's traditional colours. According to French general Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, white was the "ancient French colour" and was added to the militia cockade to create a tricolour, or national, cockade. This cockade became part of the uniform of the National Guard, which succeeded the militia and was commanded by Lafayette. The colours and design of the cockade are the basis of the Tricolour flag, adopted in 1790. The only difference was that the 1790 flag's colours were reversed. A modified design by Jacques-Louis David was adopted in 1794. The royal white flag was used during the Bourbon restoration from 1815 to 1830; the tricolour was brought back after the July Revolution and has been used ever since 1830, except with a brief interruption for a few days in 1848.Flag of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is officially the flag of France, as Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing overseas collectivity of France.French Revolution
The French Revolution (French: Révolution française [ʁevɔlysjɔ̃ fʁɑ̃sɛːz]) was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.The causes of the French Revolution are complex and are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was deeply in debt. It attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were heavily regressive. Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems also inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our [American] Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate (commoners) took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, and the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime.
The next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms. The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793.
External threats closely shaped the course of the Revolution. The Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 ultimately featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins. The dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church (dechristianised society) and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, and the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies.
After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795. They suspended elections, repudiated debts (creating financial instability in the process), persecuted the Catholic clergy, and made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and later the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars.
The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. Almost all future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor. Its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later.The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day. The Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, and nominal establishment of equality among men. The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity.Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of republics and democracies. It became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism, nationalism, and secularism, among many others. The Revolution also witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest. Some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century.French folklore
French folklore encompasses the fables, folklore and fairy tales and legends of the French people.French heraldry
French heraldry is the use of heraldic symbols in France. Although it had a considerable history, existing from the 11th century, such formality has largely died out in France, as far as regulated personal heraldry is concerned. Civic heraldry on the other hand remains a visible part of daily life.
The role of the herald (héraut) in France declined in the 17th century. Today the law recognises both assumed and inherited arms, considering them under law to be equivalent to a visual representation of a name, and given the same protections. However, there is no central registry of arms; in case of dispute, the individual who can prove the longest right to the blazon must be decided in court.
Many of the terms in international heraldry come from French.French passport
French passport (in French: Passeport français) is an identity document issued to French citizens. Besides enabling the bearer to travel internationally and serving as indication of French citizenship (but not proof; the possession of a French passport only establishes the presumption of French citizenship according to French law), the passport facilitates the process of securing assistance from French consular officials abroad or other European Union member states in case a French consular is absent, if needed.
Every French citizen is also a citizen of the European Union. The passport, along with the national identity card allows for free rights of movement and residence in any of the states of the European Union and European Economic Area.Hahn/Cock
Hahn/Cock is a sculpture of a giant blue cockerel by the German artist Katharina Fritsch. It was unveiled in London's Trafalgar Square on 25 July 2013 and was displayed on the vacant fourth plinth. The fibreglass work stood 4.72 metres (15.5 ft) high and was the sixth work to be displayed on the plinth, on which it stayed until 17 February 2015. It was subsequently acquired by Glenstone, a private museum, and exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, following its 2016 reopening.The work is in an edition of two. The second version is in the sculpture garden of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN on a pedestal designed by the artist.National coat of arms
A national coat of arms is a symbol which denotes an independent state in the form of a heraldic achievement. While a national flag is usually used by the population at large and is flown outside and on ships, a national coat of arms is normally considered a symbol of the government or (especially in monarchies) the head of state personally and tends to be used in print, on heraldic china, and as a wall decoration in official buildings. The royal arms of a monarchy, which may be identical to the national arms, are sometimes described as arms of dominion or arms of sovereignty.An important use for national coats of arms is as the main symbol on the covers of passports, the document used internationally to prove the citizenship of a person.
For a symbol to be called a "national coat of arms", it should follow the rules of heraldry. If it does not, then the symbol is not formally a coat of arms but rather a national emblem. However, many unheraldic national emblems are colloquially called national coats of arms anyway, because they are used for the same purposes as national coats of arms.Outline of France
The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide of France:
France – country in Western Europe with several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. From its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone ("The Hexagon").Pathé News
Pathé News was a producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910 until 1970 in the United Kingdom. Its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era. The Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé. Its collection of news film and movies is fully digitised and available online.Symbolism in the French Revolution
Symbolism in the French Revolution was a device to distinguish and celebrate (or vilify) the main features of the French Revolution and ensure public identification and support. In order to effectively illustrate the differences between the new Republic and the old regime, the leaders needed to implement a new set of symbols to be celebrated instead of the old religious and monarchical symbolism. To this end, symbols were borrowed from historic cultures and redefined, while those of the old regime were either destroyed or reattributed acceptable characteristics. These revised symbols were used to instill in the public a new sense of tradition and reverence for the Enlightenment and the Republic.