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Flag of France

The national flag of France (known in French as drapeau tricolore, drapeau francais, and in military parlance, les couleurs) is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue (hoist side), white, and red. It is known to English speakers as the French Tricolour or simply the Tricolour. The royal government used many flags, the best known being a blue shield and yellow fleur-de-lis 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 Lafayette, white, the "ancient French colour", was added to the militia cockade to create a tricolour, or national, cockade.[1] 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. A modified design by Jacques-Louis David was adopted in 1794. A solid white flag was used during the Bourbon restoration in 181530, but the tricolour has been used since. Currently, the flag is 50 percent wider than its height (i.e. in the proportion 2:3) and, except in the French navy, has stripes of equal width. Initially, the three stripes of the flag were not equally wide, being in the proportions 30 (blue), 33 (white) and 37 (red). Under Napoleon I, the proportions were changed to make the stripes' width equal, but by a regulation dated 17 May 1853, the navy went back to using the 30:33:37 proportions, which it continues to use, as the flapping of the flag makes portions farther from the halyard seem smal

er. [edit]Symbolism Flag of France Blue and red are the traditional colours of Paris, used on the city's coat of arms. Blue is identified with Saint Martin, red with Saint Denis. At the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the Paris militia wore blue and red cockades on their hats. White had long featured prominently on French flags and is described as the "ancient French colour" by Lafayette.[1] White was added to the "revolutionary" colors of the militia cockade to "nationalise" the design, thus creating the tricolour cockade.[1] Although Lafayette identified the white stripe with the nation, other accounts identify it with the monarchy.[3] Lafayette denied that the flag contains any reference to the red-and-white livery of the Duc d'Orleans. Despite this, Orleanists adopted the tricolour as their own. Blue and red are associated with the Virgin Mary the patron saint of France, and were the colours of Charlemagne's ensign and war cry, "Montjoie". The colours of the French flag may also represent the three main estates of the Ancien Regime (the clergy: white, the nobility: red and the bourgeoisie: blue). Blue, as the symbol of class, comes first and red, representing the nobility, comes last. Both extreme colours are situated on each side of white referring to a superior order.[4] Lafayette's tricolour cockade was adopted in July 1789, a moment of national unity that soon faded. Royalists began wearing white cockades and flying white flags, while the Jacobins, and later the Socialists, flew the red flag. The tricolour, which combines royalist white with republican red, came to be seen as a symbol of moderation and of a nationalism that transcended factionalism.