What is National Anthem Of France: Original Lyrics, English Version And History
Photo KnowInsiders

When was France’s National Anthem written?

Les Marseillais was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria.

It was originally called "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Rhine Army").

The French National Convention adopted it as the country's national anthem in 1795.

The song was originally called 'Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin' ('War Song for the Army of the Rhine'). It is a pretty brutal song, urging the French to fight against the Prussian invasion that followed the revolution, and was was subsequently banned under Napoleon and for much of the 19th century, only being permanently adopted after 1879.

The song was first sung in April 1792, and reached Marseille with the troops three months later. It's rousing theme was was an immediate success, and it was a battalion from marseille that sung the anthem in Paris later that year - hence the name Marseillaise was adopted.

There are frequent calls for the words of the anthem to be revised, given their 'inappropiateness' to a modern Europe.

La Marseillaise was written in one night

Rouget de Lisle was an amateur musician as well as a soldier. When the mayor of Strasbourg asked for a marching song, Rouget de Lisle got to work straight away and was able to complete the song in just one night!

He then performed his song in front of the mayor. The moment was immortalized in a painting by the French artist Isidore Pils.

Where was France National Anthem composed?

Strasbourg is a city on the France/Germany border. Today, as it was in 1792, Strasbourg is in France. But, throughout the years it once belonged to Germany and it was even it’s own free imperial city at one time.

In 1681, Strasbourg became a French city after Louis XIV’s armies defeated the Alsatian army. Then in 1871, after the Franco-Prussian war, the city went back to the Germans. It wasn’t until the end of World War I in 1918 that Strasbourg became French again. Briefly, during World War II, it was passed back onto the Germans after France was defeated in 1940. It has remained French ever since!

Today, Strasbourg is a mixture of both German and French culture and is one of the best places to be during Christmastime.

La Marseillaise is named after the soldiers from Marseilles who first sang the anthem

Now that you know that La Marseillaise was written in Strasbourg, you may be wondering why it’s named after Marseille instead of Strasbourg. Fair question! The national anthem is called La Marseillaise because it was a hit with volunteer soldiers marching from Marseille to Paris to fight for their country.

Napoleon banned La Marseillaise

When Napoleon Bonaparte came into power in 1804, he was on a mission to change the way things were done in France. He was obsessed with war and glory and France was at war for much of his reign. He was also a notorious control freak, so it doesn’t surprise me that he decided to change the national anthem.

When Napoleon was in charge, the French national anthem was called “Veillons au salut de l’Empire,” or “Let us See to the Salvation of the Empire” in English.

History of France's National Anthem

What is National Anthem Of France: Original Lyrics, English Version And History
Photo The Local France

After France declared war on Austria on April 20, 1792, P.F. Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg (where Rouget de Lisle was then quartered), expressed the need for a marching song for the French troops. “La Marseillaise” was Rouget de Lisle’s response to this call. Originally entitled “Chant de guerre de l’armée du Rhin” (“War Song of the Army of the Rhine”), the anthem came to be called “La Marseillaise” because of its popularity with volunteer army units from Marseille. The spirited and majestic song made an intense impression whenever it was sung at Revolutionary public occasions. The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed on July 14, 1795. “La Marseillaise” was banned by Napoleon during the empire and by Louis XVIII on the Second Restoration (1815) because of its Revolutionary associations. Authorized after the July Revolution of 1830, it was again banned by Napoleon III and not reinstated until 1879.

The original text of “La Marseillaise” had six verses, and a seventh and last verse (not written by Rouget de Lisle) was later added. Only the first and sixth verses of the anthem are customarily used at public occasions. The text of these two verses follows, along with an English translation.

What are the Full Lyrics to La Marseillaise?

Bearing in mind that the lyrics reflect the invasion of France by Prussian and Austrian armies, the text is pretty violent. The full version features seven verses – but at most sporting events, teams tend to sing just the first verse and chorus:

France's National Anthem in Original French

Allons enfants de la Patrie

Le jour de gloire est arrivé !

Contre nous de la tyrannie

L'étendard sanglant est levé

Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes

Mugir ces féroces soldats?

Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.

Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!

Aux armes citoyens

Formez vos bataillons

Marchons, marchons

Qu'un sang impur

Abreuve nos sillons

Que veut cette horde d'esclaves

De traîtres, de rois conjurés?

Pour qui ces ignobles entraves

Ces fers dès longtemps préparés?

Français, pour nous, ah! quel outrage

Quels transports il doit exciter?

C'est nous qu'on ose méditer

De rendre à l'antique esclavage!

Quoi ces cohortes étrangères!

Feraient la loi dans nos foyers!

Quoi! ces phalanges mercenaires

Terrasseraient nos fils guerriers!

Grand Dieu! par des mains enchaînées

Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient

De vils despotes deviendraient

Les maîtres des destinées.

Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides

L'opprobre de tous les partis

Tremblez! vos projets parricides

Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix!

Tout est soldat pour vous combattre

S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros

La France en produit de nouveaux,

Contre vous tout prêts à se battre.

Français, en guerriers magnanimes

Portez ou retenez vos coups!

Épargnez ces tristes victimes

À regret s'armant contre nous

Mais ces despotes sanguinaires

Mais ces complices de Bouillé

Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié

Déchirent le sein de leur mère!

Nous entrerons dans la carrière

Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus

Nous y trouverons leur poussière

Et la trace de leurs vertus

Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre

Que de partager leur cercueil

Nous aurons le sublime orgueil

De les venger ou de les suivre!

Amour sacré de la Patrie

Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs

Liberté, Liberté chérie

Combats avec tes défenseurs!

Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire

Accoure à tes mâles accents

Que tes ennemis expirants

Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!

France's National Anthem in English translation

Arise children of the fatherland

The day of glory has arrived

Against us tyranny's

Bloody standard is raised

Listen to the sound in the fields

The howling of these fearsome soldiers

They are coming into our midst

To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens

Form you battalions

March, march

Let impure blood

Water our furrows

What do they want this horde of slaves

Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?

For whom these vile chains

These long-prepared irons?

Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage

What methods must be taken?

It is we they dare plan

To return to the old slavery!

What! These foreign cohorts!

They would make laws in our courts!

What! These mercenary phalanxes

Would cut down our warrior sons

Good Lord! By chained hands

Our brow would yield under the yoke

The vile despots would have themselves be

The masters of destiny

Tremble, tyrants and traitors

The shame of all good men

Tremble! Your parricidal schemes

Will receive their just reward

Against you we are all soldiers

If they fall, our young heros

France will bear new ones

Ready to join the fight against you

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors

Bear or hold back your blows

Spare these sad victims

Who with regret are taking up arms against us

But not these bloody despots

These accomplices of Bouillz

All these tigers who pitilessly

Are ripping open their mothers' breasts

We shall enter into the pit

When our elders will no longer be there

There we shall find their ashes

And the mark of their virtues

We are much less jealous of surviving them

Than of sharing their coffins

We shall have the sublime pride

Of avenging or joining them

Sacred Love for the Fatherland

Lead and support our avenging arms

Liberty, cherished liberty

Join the struggle with your defenders

Under our flags, let victory

Hasten to you virile force

So that in death your enemies

See your triumph and our glory!

Symbols Of France

Coat of Arms France

The current emblem of France has been a symbol of France since 1953, although it does not have any legal status as an official coat of arms. It is printed on the cover of French passports and was adopted originally by the French Foreign Ministry as a symbol for use by diplomatic and consular missions during 1912. It is considered an emblem rather than a coat of arms since it does not respect heraldic rules. The emblem consists of a wide shield with a lion-head on one end and an eagle-head on the other an eagle-head, bearing a monogram "RF" standing for Republique Francaise (French Republic). A laurel branch symbolizes the victory of the Republic, the oak branch symbolizes perennity or wisdom, and the fasces is a symbol associated with justice (the bundle of rods and an axe, carried by Roman lictors).

The Currency Of France Is The Euro

France is home to one of the biggest economies in the world. Globally, it is ranked the sixth largest economy in consideration to nominal data produced by IMF in 2017. Ranking France according to purchasing power parity, the country is placed at position of tenth globally. It is positioned third among the European countries, with Germany having the biggest economy. France is a member of the European Union. As such, the Euro is the country’s official currency like other EU members. France was one of the first countries to the euro in 2002 and used it alongside the French franc, which was its old currency. The official symbol for the euro is €.

Coins

The euro is divided into euro cents, with 100 cents as the smallest denomination. Euro coins are available in several denominations, including 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20, 50c, €1, and €2. All the coins have similar features, with the only difference being the denomination.

Banknotes

Euro banknotes have similar designs on both sides and are issued in the denomination of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, € 200, and €500. However, each note has its color, with each dedicated to an artistic period in the history of European architecture. Other features include gateways or windows on observe and bridges on the reverse side.

National Flag

In November 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron has changed the colour of the national flag to revert it to its post-French revolution form, according to news reports.

The change, which took effect officially about a year ago, appears to have gone unnoticed until recently. In fact, an official told news agency AFP that Macron has been using the changed flag as a backdrop for his speeches as early as 2018.

The French tricolour comprises of vertical bands of blue, white and red. The current change is reflected in the shade of the blue — it has been changed to a navy blue colour instead of the lighter version that was in place for over four decades now.

What is National Anthem Of France: Original Lyrics, English Version And History
Photo Daily Mail

“The President of the Republic (Emmanuel Macron) has chosen for the tricolour flags that adorn the Élysée Palace the navy blue that evokes the imagination of the Volunteers of Year II, the Poilus of 1914 and the Compagnons de la Libération of Free France,” the Presidency said, according to an AFP report.

“It is also the blue of the flag that has always flown under the Arc de Triomphe every (Armistice Day) 11 November,” it added.

The French state started using the lighter shade of blue in its flag following the French revolution in 1970s. The lighter shade, termed Marian Blue (bleu marine), closely resembles the shade of the European Union flag. It has been speculated that Macron’s decision to change the shade is an indicator of a growing rift between France and the EU.

7 Names for France

What is National Anthem Of France: Original Lyrics, English Version And History
Photo KnowInsiders

Have you ever noticed that “France” is called by several different names? Learn the various synonyms and the exact meanings of each one.

1) la France

France is the most common, general term and indicates the entire country, including the DOM-TOM (see below).

Vive la France !

2) la République

“The Republic,” the most patriotic term, refers to France by way of its republican constitution.

Variation: la République française is the official name of the country and is commonly abbreviated as RF.

Vive la République !

3) l’Hexagone

The nickname “Hexagon” refers to the shape of the mainland’s borders and so does not include the DOM-TOM, though curiously it does include Corsica.

4) la Métropole

“Metropolis,” synonymous with l’Hexagone. This is the term inhabitants of the DOM-TOM tend to use when referring to the mainland.

5) la France métropolitaine

“Metropolitan France,” synonymous with la Métropole and l’Hexagone.

6) la France continentale

“Continental France” indicates just the actual hexagon: metropolitan France minus Corsica.

7) la France profonde

“Deep France” refers to rural France: the villages and provincial life found outside of the cities.

Patriotic Expressions in French

1) Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

French motto

2) Vive la France !

An exclamative cheer or rallying cry

(In France, vive la France is almost always preceded by vive la République)

3) Impossible n’est pas français

Patriotic expression – or is it?

4) L’État, c’est moi

"I am the State"

King Louis XIV, 13 April 1655

5) Servir la patrie est une moitié du devoir, servir l’humanité est l’autre moitié.

"Serving the homeland is half of duty, serving humanity is the other half."

Victor Hugo, Mes fils (1874)

6) Au fond de tout patriotisme, il y a la guerre : voilà pourquoi je ne suis point patriote.

"At the heart of all patriotism, there is war: that’s why I’m not a patriot."

Jules Renard, Journal (1899)

7) Écrire proprement sa langue est une des formes du patriotisme.

"Writing one’s language correctly is one of the forms of patriotism."

Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, La Liberté (1933)

8) Le véritable lieu de naissance est celui où l’on a porté pour la première fois un coup d’œil intelligent sur soi-même : mes premières patries ont été des livres.

"The real place of birth is the one where you first took an intelligent look at yourself: my first homelands were books."

Marguerite Yourcenar, Mémoires d’Hadrien (1951)

9) La France ne peut être la France sans la grandeur.

"France cannot be France without greatness."

Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre (1954)

10) [L]a fusion des races a commencé dès les âges préhistoriques. Le peuple français est un composé. C’est mieux qu’une race. C’est une nation.

"The fusion of races began in prehistoric times. The French people are a composite. That’s better than a race. It’s a nation."

Jacques Bainville, Histoire de France (1924)

Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in France Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in France

Are you looking for cities in France for a romantic trip? If so, you are in luck, as the country is full of idyllic landscapes ...

Top 12 Interesting Facts about France You may not Know Top 12 Interesting Facts about France You may not Know

Is it true that France invented the hot air balloon? And is it really illegal to kiss on train platforms? Find out with these 12 ...

ONLY in FRANCE: 7 Strangest Things You ONLY in FRANCE: 7 Strangest Things You've Never Seen

ONLY in FRANCE: France is the most romantic country in the world with picturesque destinations and delicious food and friendly people. Today, let discover 7 ...