The national flag of France has vertical stripes of red, white and blue. What's the color of the left stripe?

And the answer: blue.

The national flag of France is sometimes referred to as the French Tricolor, because of its simple design of three colors. The left third of the flag is solid blue, the center is white, and the right third is solid red.    

Photo credit: Getty Images. 

Blue, white and red are typically colors associated with democracy. Although the French were not the first to use and publicize this color combination, the French Tricolor draws from a chaotic and rebellious history.

In 1789, France found themselves amidst a revolution. Naturally, the French revolutionaries couldn't be seen using the same flag as their oppressors, so the white flag adorned with yellow shields – a design dating back to the white and yellow emblazoned flag carried by Joan of Arc – was disposed. The white which dominated the old flag was, in large part, a withstanding symbol of the monarchy, and had been adorned by kings and soldiers alike for centuries.

The revolutionaries initially sought inspiration for their new flag from the flag of Paris – a simple stripe of blue and a stripe of red. However, they needed to adapt the design to apply more widely to France; thus, the idea was born to place the historic white color (the symbol of monarchy) between the blue and red of the Paris flag. In effect, the symbol of monarchy – that stripe of white – was forced into submission by the will of the people (stripes of blue and red).

Did you know?

The similarly fashioned, tricolor flags which dominate much of Europe are in large part due to Napoleon's influence. The ruler was so infatuated with the design of the new French flag that he marauded it around Europe, spreading it into the locales he conquered.

Artwork by SiBr4 (Wikimedia)

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