It is made up of regional television stations with regional news programs and about 10 hours of regional entertainment and cultural shows every week. The channel also broadcast various national programs and national news made from Paris. The name used to be FR3 or France Régions 3 (France Areas 3) until the beginning of the 1990s.
Prior to the establishment of RFO, it also broadcast to the various French overseas territories.
At the start of its life, Couleur 3 only broadcasted for three hours every day and only covered 26% of the population, its transmissions primarily covering Paris, the 'Ile-de-France' and 'Nord' regions. Its coverage improved and became national at the end of the decade.
FR3 was launched on 6 January. Its PDG Claude Contamine decided to orient the channel towards film (examples being 'Cinéma de Minuit' and 'Cinéma 16 1976'), televised discussion and local opt-out programming. 22 March 1975 saw local programming being broadcast daily. One example of such programming- 'Les Jeux de 20 heures'- allowed each region in turn to be showcased nationally, in the format of a presenter in the Paris studio speaking to a presenter in a given regional station. After this programme was aired the State understod the importance of the régions and very slowly undertook measures to decentralise the country administratively and economically, including the regional centres of FR3.
21 October 1981 FR3 broadcast for the first time the ministers questions from the National Assembly. In January 1983 advertising was introduced to the network. In 5 September, its 12 centres of production were producing 3 hours daily of regional programmes. The American drama series Dynasty had its French airing every Saturday in 1984. In 1985 popular children’s show The Disney Channel aired on FR3 every Saturday night and ran for five seasons. (Not to be confused later with Disney Channel). A new regular time for national and local news- 'le 19|20' was broadcast for the first time in 1986 at 7pm until 8pm (or 19h to 20h).
Popular quiz show Questions pour un champion made its broadcasting début in November 1998 and La Classe, an entertainment programme which replaced Les Jeux de 20 heures and followed 19|20.
In 1990 France 3 gave airtime on Saturday afternoons to the emerging educational network La Sept where it broadcasted until midnight. Saturday mornings were home to its own current affairs programmes Continentales and L’Eurojournal, both presented by Alex Taylor.
Between 2000 and 2005 the following public channels La Cinquième (currently named France 5), RFO (together with RFOsat, now called France Ô) and then France 4 joined France 2 and 3 under the France Télévisions corporate umbrella.
Under the direction of 'France Télévisions' président Patrick de Carolis and Director of Channels Patrice Duhamel, in October 2006 a new daily cultural programme called 'Ce soir (ou jamais !)' presented by Frederic Taddei marked the new cultural direction given to the programmes of France 3. Also the evening news programme Soir 3 was given a fixed hour – at 11pm.
Another part of the channel is a great emphasis is on the celebration of the country as a whole and on the different regions which make up France (for example Plus belle la vie , a popular soap opera is set in Marseille. Some of its well known programmes can also be seen as part of the schedules of TV5 Monde.
France 3 is now received by Digital Terrestrial Television (fr.- TNT: Télévision numérique terrestre) in % of French homes, each receiving a digital version of the traditional analogue signal.
'It must promote local news and regional events and to introduce and familiarise the different regions of France and Europe and « to give space to our lively spectacles ».'
In 1998 France 3 moved to a new base at 7 Esplanade Henri de France in the XVe arrondissement. This also houses the rest of France Télévisions operations. The headquarters is accessible by taking the RER Line C at Boulevard Victor.
NB. Note that in the United Kingdom some France 3 news items can be seen on ITV Channel Islands programme Rendez-vous dimanche with local news items sourced from France 3 Ouest. In Belgium the local programmes offered by France 3 Nord Pas de Calais Picardie had at times in history twice the amount of viewers than in its intended target area.
|Region Name||Area Served||Centres of production|
|1.||France 3 Alsace||Alsace||Strasbourg|
|2.||France 3 Aquitaine||Aquitaine||Bordeaux|
|3.||France 3 Bourgogne Franche-Comté||Bourgogne & Franche-Comté||Dijon, Besançon|
|4.||France 3 Corse||Corsica||Ajaccio|
|5.||France 3 Lorraine Champagne-Ardenne||Lorraine & Champagne-Ardenne||Nancy, Reims|
|6.||France 3 Méditerranée||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur||Marseille|
|7.||France 3 Nord-Pas-de-Calais Picardie||Nord-Pas de Calais & Picardie||Lille, Amiens|
|8.||France 3 Normandie||Basse-Normandie & Haute-Normandie||Caen, Rouen|
|9.||France 3 Ouest||Bretagne & Pays de la Loire||Rennes, Nantes|
|10.||France 3 Paris Île-de-France Centre||Île-de-France & Centre||Vanves, Orléans|
|11.||France 3 Limousin Poitou-Charentes||Limousin & Poitou-Charentes||Limoges|
|12.||France 3 Rhône Alpes Auvergne||Rhône-Alpes & Auvergne||Lyon, Grenoble|
|13.||France 3 Sud||Languedoc-Roussillon & Midi-Pyrénées||Toulouse, Montpellier|
|France 3 Région||Number of 'journal' opt-outs||Areas/language served||News bureaux|
|Aquitaine||4||Pays Basque, Sud-Aquitaine, Périgord, Bordeaux Métropole||Bayonne, Pau, Périgueux, Bordeaux|
|Limousin Poitou-Charente||3||Poitou Charente, Atlantique, Pays de Corrèze||Limoges, La Rochelle, Brive-la-Gaillarde|
|Lorraine Champagne-Ardenne||3||Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine Nord||Nancy, Reims, Metz|
|Méditerranée||3||Marseille, Côte Varoise, Côte d'Azur||Marseille, Toulon, Nice|
|Nord-Pas-de-Calais Picardie||3||Côte d'Opale, Lille Métropole, Picardie||Bourgogne, Lille, Amiens|
|Ouest||4||Estuaire, Haute-Bretagne, Maine, Iroise||Nantes, Rennes, Le Mans, Brest|
|Paris Île-de-France Centre||3||Orléans Loiret, Touraine, Berry||Orléans, Tours, Châteauroux|
|Rhône Alpes Auvergne||4||Alpes, Auvergne, Grand Lyon||Lyon, Grenoble|
|Sud||4||Toulouse, Pays Catalan, Montpellier Quercy-Rouergue, Tarn, Pays Gardois||Toulouse, Perpignan, Montpellier, Rodez, Albi, Nîmes|