Every nation in the world is identified by virtue of its national symbols. Although these symbols vary from country to country, there are some that are common everywhere, such as the national flag and anthem. In France, there are six national symbols that represent the Republic:
Le Drapeau Tricolore
The first of six symbols is the French flag. It consists of three colors – blue, white and red – that are designed in vertical stripes and divided equally across the flag. Blue is nearest to the hoist, followed by white in the center and red at the flying end. Blue and red colors are symbols of Paris, the capital city of France. White represents French royalty who still existed when the flag was first used at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789.
Also one of the symbols of the French Revolution, "La Marseillaise" was written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, Captain of the Engineers in the Rhine Army, when he was posted in Strasbourg in 1792. He originally created this song to be chanted during the march of the army from Marseilles to Paris. "La Marseillaise" was accepted as the official French national anthem in 1795.
On 14 July 1789, French citizens stormed into Bastille in Paris in an effort to free the political prisoners held within. This revolutionary act sparked off the French Revolution, signifying the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the French Republic. Every 14 July since then, Bastille Day or Fête Nationale, has been recognized as one of the most important symbols of France.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
This national motto is one of the well-known symbols of France and is displayed not only on the official French logo, but also on items such as coins and souvenirs. Meaning "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," it was first introduced during the French Revolution of 1789, but was only officially accepted in the Third French Republic and written into the constitution of 1958.
Great Seal of France
Created by Jean-Jacques Barré, the Great Seal of today is one that was established during the Second Republic in 1848. Another one of the country’s significant symbols, the seal pictures lady Liberté holding a fasces in one hand while resting her other hand above a ship’s tiller. An urn, with the abbreviation "SU" for suffrage universel (universal suffrage), lies at her feet.
The phrase République française démocratique une et indivisibl (Democratic French Republic, One and Indivisible) is circularly inscribed above lady Liberté. On the reverse side of the seal, the phrases Au nom du peuple français (in the name of the French people) and Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité are also inscribed. These inscriptions are symbols of the heart of the French Republic and its people.
Marianne is one of the most prominent symbols of France, yet her origins remain a mystery, as she has been depicted differently according to various artists. From a mother nursing two children to an angry warrior chanting the Marseillaise on the Arc de Triomphe, Marianne represents the "Triumph of the Republic" and appears everywhere – in building sculptures, coins, banknotes, postage stamps and on the French government logo.