Un, deux, trois…dix! As we continue our new series, where we look at all the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and list why we love them, it’s time to hop off at the Champs-Élysées and delve into France’s portfolio. Allons-y!

As part of the Big Five, France doesn’t have to participate in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, they have done so much in their long history to help shape the contest into what it is today. From opera to emotional ballads to straight-up French party pop, here are ten reasons why we love France at ESC.

1. They are one of the originals

France is one of the seven original Eurovision participants, so in that sense they are partly responsible for the existence of the contest. Its influence persists even today: French is one of the two official languages of the EBU, the second language of Eurovision itself, and the language of the most defining phrase of the contest: douze points!

2. They were the first Eurovision superpower

At the beginning of the contest, France was pretty much pulling the strings. From 1957 to 1970, France placed in the top five 13 out of 14 times. This included four wins, as well as two wins from French artists competing for Luxembourg. Comment dit-on “dominance”?

3. You can count on them

France has been one of the most present countries in the contest. They have only missed two editions since their debut in 1956. In 1974 they withdrew due to the death of President Georges Pompidou. And in 1982 they didn’t enter, with broadcaster TF1 claiming “the absence of talent and the mediocrity of the songs were where annoyance set in. Eurovision is a monument to inanity.” Well damn. That leads us to…

4. Their fanaticism

That 1982 decision caused an outcry so large that another broadcaster took over broadcasting Eurovision in France. New broadcaster Antennae 2 also took the extra step and organising national finals. Say what you want about the French audience, but they won’t tolerate not getting their Eurovision fix!

5. Dedication to their languages

France is one of the few countries that has sung in their national languages without exception (even if they had to twist Sebastian Téllier‘s arm in 2008). This doesn’t mean they have kept it stale! On two occasions, they have opted for regional languages — Breton in 1996 and Corsican in 2011. They also peppered other songs with bits of English, Spanish and even Haitian Creole. Mesi!

6. They always dress to impress

With friends and Eurovision fans like Jean-Paul Gaultier on their side, France rarely fails in the fashion stakes. And one thing is for sure: the fashion powerhouse has never even been in consideration for the Barbara Dex Award. Be it exquisite gowns or bright pink everything, they got that je ne sais quoi going on.

Be it ENTM winner Alma or Indonesian-born Anggun‘s not-distracting-at-all dancers, France’s reputation of gorgeous goes full steam ahead on Eurovision.

7. Di-ver-si-té

Performance art (Sébastien Tellier), classic chanson (Patricia Kaas), the bop of the summer (Jessy Matador) and popera (Amaury Vassilli) — that was just one series of genres that France sent to Eurovision! The country celebrates the many sounds of French music, and in many instances the influences that come from its global diaspora.  France has not been shy in trying different genres and mixing it up, regardless of the result, keeping every fan on their toes and guessing what they might do next.

8. They symbolically win ties

In the history of the contest, ties for first place have happened just twice — and France was involved in both. The 1969 system had no defined rule to break the deadlock. And the rules that broke the 1991 edition have subsequently changed. If we go by current Eurovision rules, France would have been the winner in both editions!

9. Destination Eurovision

When France decided to introduce a new national final system in 2018, no one was prepared for how fantastique it was going to be. Every fan had their favourite they would die for, and most of the acts had great live vocals, solid tracks or both. Destination Eurovision is destined to become a staple of the national final season.

10. The Edoardo Grassi era

Ever since the new Head of Delegation took charge in 2016, France’s attitude towards Eurovision has shifted for the better. The programme graduated to France 2, attracting a larger audience, and it seemed the country actually cared about who would compete. They are arguably the Big Five country that has shown the biggest change of attitude towards the contest in recent years and, if they keep heading down this path, we’re sure we will soon see a Eurovision hosted in… Paris? Marseille? Nice? The choices are plenty and fabulous.

What do you think? What is your favorite moment from France? What made you go sacre bleu? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more France Eurovision news

34
Leave a Reply

avatar
20 Comment threads
14 Thread replies
3 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
Henrikh MugosaMusicIstheKeyKynapp77CyxCy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

I agree with others here – France is great because they bring such musical diversity. I am not fond of their euroballads (at least not the newer ones). But they have done indie, electro, ethno, even opera, rnb etc. all done with quality and style. I love originality in ESC, and you can often count on France. And especially I will mention Divine. One of the best ESC-songs EVER! A lovely song, kind of Air meets Beach Boys. Also credit to e.g. 1990, 91, 92, 94, 2007, 05, 13, 14, 18, 1961, 63 etc. They obviously more easily win in… Read more »

CyxCy
Guest
CyxCy

as a French girl, I think our country has a good aura right now. We just won the World Cup, we will organize the Olympic Games in 2024, if we won Eurovision during the time between the two, it would be magic. I think Edoardo and Bruno are not far from finding the right candidate. it’s also a good time on this side, there’s a whole new generation of talented singers coming along, with great songs to offer. We can get there, we are not far from the goal, we still have a little work and a little luck and… Read more »

Kyna
Guest
Kyna

That’s exactly the reason why I have this feeling that France has somewhat so-called green light for winning in near future.

OrangeVorty
Guest
OrangeVorty

Anima should have won in 1991 without a doubt – some of their entries in the early 90s were awesome – “Black and White Blues” included.

pp77
Guest
pp77

Israel deserved to won in 1991. RAI orchestra ruinned slmost all songs. Only song from Iceland,France,Israel,Portugal,Spain,italy sound better in Rome than their national final or preview video. 16others song was ruinned especialy Yugoslavia, Greece,Luxembourg..

Mamapanda
Guest
Mamapanda

As a Finn, I learnt to know many of the earlier ESC songs by France through covers. Some by Finnish ESC legends. Still can’t listen to “L’oiseau et l’enfant” without becoming a total emotional mess. Amina is still my favorite, though, and one of my personal all time TOP3 ESC entries.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Mais bien sûr, la France. 🙂
Ah, the freedom of being able to sing any style or genre of song ever created, as long as the lyrics are mostly in French. 😀
My best memory: Natasha St. Pier in 2001. Mezmorising vocals, all alone on the stage, and she delivered a surprise switch to ENGLISH towards the end of the song. Brave woman.

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

France is that country that I unconsciously love in the contest until now (it dawned to me now about how great they actually are). They are somewhere in my top 10 favorite country to partake in Eurovision. Love Amir, Alma and most especially Madame Monsieur. Also, I loved the fact that Allez Ola Ole was the number one of the most watched on Eurovision’s Youtube page before being surpassed by Netta’s Toy. On the other hand, I felt that Anggun and Amandine were robbed. If only Eurovision Asia will be active from then on, I would’ve wanted Anggun to appear… Read more »

Ana
Guest
Ana

I have to admit they can easily win my heart, whatever they choose – a pathetic anthem (Sognu), pop hit (J’ai cherche), powerful ballad (L’oiseau et l’enfant) or even joke entry (wonderful L’amour a la francaise!) – they just know how to do it. Viva la France!

Minerva
Guest
Minerva

I love the fact that France participates in the ESC every year. I also love the fact that they sing in French. But I just can never get excited about any of their entries. Except this year a bit…

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

A wonderful country in every aspect, and that includes Eurovision. In many occasions France sent songs which were years ahead of their time.

Nickfan
Guest
Nickfan

Thanks for this beautiful article wiwibloggs ! ? Yeah we loved, we love and we’ll always love ESC, and we are expecting a new victory to welcome you – Europe – in France to discover our beautiful places, culture and of course music ! (I hope before the 2024 Olympic Games ^^) ???

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

*seeing an article mentioning Anggun*
Indonesians : GORL THATS OUR SINGER!

Joe
Guest
Joe

France used to coast, but as they’ve expanded and diversified their sound starting in the 90s (I maintain that 90-97 was the best stretch of entries they’ve ever sent), they’ve impressed me a lot. Even their “weaker” stretch from 05-08 or so still largely impressed me. They’ve never followed the trends other countries set, and marched to the beat of their own drum, with some exceptions (in many ways, they kinda set the standard for the other French-speaking countries). My favorite is probably Joelle Ursull’s awesome and avant-garde “White and Black Blues” from 90, still one of the most unique… Read more »

giles
Guest
giles

Did you know that the songwriter behind « White and Black Blues » is the same who wrote France Gall’s « Poupée de cire, poupée de son »? The great Serge Gainsbourg !

Mamapanda
Guest
Mamapanda

“White and Black Blues” was written by Serge Gainsboroug The second entry he wrote. This is the argument I make to my ESC hating husband every time he slams the contest. He did like “Mercy”, too, this year.

pp77
Guest
pp77

Serge wrote only lyricks for France 1991. He wrote music for winner Luxembourg 1965 , and wroteusic for Monaco 1967 song Boombadaboom deserved to won with UK that year.

Kyna
Guest
Kyna

With Destination Eurovision (which seems to become my favorite nationals ever) and a literal angel sent by Eurovision gods, Edoardo Grassi, I have a really r e a l l y good feeling about France to win quite soon. The only thing they have to deal is the staging, otherwise they’re fantastique.

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

*a literal angel with a bad temper, apparently (i hear say) *giggles*

FanESC
Guest
FanESC

“5. Dedication to their languages” Patrick Fiori also sung in Corsican (both Corsican and French actually) in 1993 and ended up 4th. Btw he is still very popular (he’ll be coach in The Voice Kids on a few weeks. I’m very proud of my country, particularly on 2016. When I see how Edoardo Grassi and Delphine Ernotte (head of France 2, she went in Lisbonne in May and saw Eurovision in live, she absolutely loved), I think that Eurovision in Paris could be amazing, the biggest edition of the contest ever. So you know what you’ll have to do next… Read more »

FanESC
Guest
FanESC

Particularly *since* 2016. When I see how Edoardo Grassi and Delphine Ernotte (head of France 2, she went in Lisbonne in May and saw Eurovision in live, she absolutely loved) *are passionate with the contest*.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Many things I love about France at Eurovision: 1. Their last win in 1977 is my favourite french winner. What a masterpiece. 3. 5 wins! 2. They joined eurovision at the very first edition in 1956. 3. Diversity. They’ve sent summer songs, classic french ballads, modern pop songs, operas, troll acts, basically everything. 4. They used Corsican, which is amazing. 5. The change of attitude towards eurovision. They found the way to send quality songs. 6. Mr Edoardo Grassi. This man does his best to put France back on the eurovision map. He’s on the right direction 7. Their sense… Read more »

pp77
Guest
pp77

They won 5 times in era , when frenc language was dominated in contest. in begining when they won 3 times 58,60,62 we have max 16 countries in contest and in Monaco, Luxembourg,Belgium,Switzerland used french language.And song who won for France was not big hits in Europe. Luxembourg winning song was hits ,especialy song 65,72 and Luxemborug send more french star to conest than France

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

I simply adore Eduardo Grassi, heads of delegations all around Europe and Australia should learn a thing or two from him 🙂

Fredrik
Guest
Fredrik

me to:)

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Patricia Kaas is still my favourite among their recent entries. I also think they were highly underrated in 2013.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Opening the final probably didn’t help.

pp77
Guest
pp77

For me Patricia Kaas deserved to be in TOP 3 or to won in 2009.Best sonf from France from 1994 to 2018, and one of best french song in history. Song from 1995,2001,2016 was so overrated for me, especialy 1995 I can t belive that they took 4 th place that year Slovenia,Denmark,Croatia,Israel,Cyprus,Malta had better song then France . 2001 again 4 th place, for me better song had Slovenia,Sweden,Spain,Germany then France

pp77
Guest
pp77

Agree for 2013,but Bjoran ruinned their chance in final, like he ruinned chance for San Marino when they put Valetina to sang on spot 2 in semifinal

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

The fact that they are passionate enough to join JESC again after so long really shows how much Eduardo loves the contest. DE was one of if not THE best NF this year, and I still listen to Ok Ou Ko. I hope they keep their ongoing trend of sending quality to the contest and soon enough we will seen them shine in the top 5.

Darren
Guest
Darren

France has always been one of my favorites in Eurovision. I even loved their strange entries in 2007, 2008, 2014. I love how they are always unique. You can always spot the French entry without even hearing the language. I loved Amir, Alma and Madame-Monsuir. They need to win soon. Eurovision would be amazing hosted in Paris.
If there is any Big 5 that I think has a chance of winning again soon, it’s definitely France, with Italy close second.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

I think the British and the Spanish broadcasters are the only ones who are not interested in hosting the event in a near future.

pp77
Guest
pp77

I agree for BBC , but not for TVE. They send song in 2007,2009,2015,2016 ,2018 who had massive support by eurovision fans, eurovison fan sites, but all flop in Euurovision final and staging was not poor in termin of budget. . TVE made duet to win national final and to win eurovision 2018(in before operacion triumfo final for eurovision we don t have duet, onlu solo singer). TVEadeistake, because they think that people I. Europe willassive vote for love couple from spain.

James
Guest
James

Vive le France!