France Flag colour change, dark blue to reflect a heroic past

The official said the navy blue color “wakes up the memory” of the heroes who fought in the resistance during the French Revolution, the trenches of World War I and World War II.

This is such a subtle change that it went unnoticed for almost three years. But President Emmanuel Macron ordered a change in the color of the French flag to find an echo of the heroism in France’s past.

Keen-eyed observers can see that the French red-white-and-blue tricolor flying over the Elysee Palace and also placed behind Macron at news conferences and speeches, is now a deep dark blue instead of the previous bright blue. 

The navy blue color marks a return to tradition – it was then-president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing who changed the bright blue color to match the color of the European flag in 1976, which displayed yellow stars on a blue background. 

 A presidential official told AFP on Monday that the flags placed behind Macron in his 2018 speeches and then on fliers from the Elysee and other presidential buildings from 2020 were changed.

The official said the navy blue color “wakes up the memory” of the heroes who fought in the resistance during the French Revolution, the trenches of World War I and World War II. 

Change has finally been seen after journalists, Eliot Blondet and Paul LaRouturo, appeared in the book “Elysee Confidential” published this autumn.

They explained that the initiative came from the head of operations at Elysee Arnaud Jollens, who was interviewed by journalists for his book. The cost of change is a symbolic 5,000 euros.

“During reunification with Europe, Giscard changed this to blue for aesthetic reasons, but the flag all the presidents carried with them was not the actual French flag,” Jolens is quoted as saying.

The Elysee official also pointed out that the flag was always dark blue at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 

France takes over as president of the European Union on January 1, led by the pro-European Macron, while facing a re-election battle in April.