France has had numerous flags throughout the Country’s history, but its current flag is known as the French Tricolour, and it features three vertical bands of blue, white and red. The flag was designed by Lafayette, Jacques-Louis David and adopted by the French National Convention on February 15, 1794. The royal white flag was used during the Bourbon restoration from 1815 to 1830 but the tricolor was brought back after the July revolution and has been used ever since 1830, except for a brief interruption for a few days in 1848. The flag of France was adopted a 2nd time on March 5, 1848.
The left or hoist side of the flag of France has a blue stripe, the center stripe is white, and the right stripe is red. When the flag was first used in 1790, the present colors on the flag were in opposite order, red used to be on the left and blue was on the right. In 1794 the colors were reversed to the order we find in the modern France flag today.
The colors of the France flag were used to represent a good relation between the King and the city of Paris. Sometimes the three colors are taken to represent three elements of a revolutionary motto, where blue represents freedom, white equality and red stands for brotherhood. It is bordered by Spain to the south, Germany to the northeast, and Switzerland and Italy to the east.
The color white represents the royalty, and the blue and red colors were to be the arms of the city. White is the traditional color of the Bourbon family, which ruled France from the late 16th Century AD until the French Revolution. White is also the color of the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc. Louis the VIII consecrated the Kingdom of France to the Virgin Mary in the 17th Century. Joan of Arc drove the English from the Kingdom of France in the 15th Century.
The red and blue in the France flag reflect that it was under a blue and red banner that the revolutionaries famously stormed the Bastille in 1789, which resulted in the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty. At that time, blue was to be the color of Saint Martin. Martin was a Gallo-Roman officer who cut his blue coat with his sword. He gave half of it to the poor. This was meant to be an image of care and a reminder that the rich had to help the poor. Red was the color of Saint Denis who is the patron saint of Paris.
The Flag of France is flown on public buildings, national commemorations, and it is honored according to a very precisely defined ceremonial. It is also the backdrop for the French President whenever he addresses the public.