What Do the Colors of the French Flag Stand For?

colors-french-flag-stand Credit: Philippe LEJEANVRE/Moment/Getty Images

The national flag of France features three vertical bands with the colors blue, white and red, representing the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. The blue band is nearest the flagstaff, the white is in the middle and the red is on the outside.

Blue and red are associated with the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of France. They are also traditional colors of Paris, while white is the color of the Royal House of Bourbon. Blue is identified with Saint Martin and red with Saint Denis.The colors of the French flag may also represent the three main estates of the historical 1400 to 1700 period that is known as the “ancien régime” ­– white is the clergy, red is nobility and blue is the bourgeoisie. English speakers refer to the flag as the French tricolor.