Why is the Rooster a symbol of France?
What do you think are French national symbols? A baguette, a bicycle, a glass of red wine or a rooster? I think all these things conguere up an image of France. The Rooster though has a special and a long standing association with being the symbol of France and its people. In fact, the Latin word Gallus means both “rooster” and “inhabitant of Gaul” (official French government site gouvernement.fr) Ancient coins even had the rooster engraved but it was not until much later that the rooster actually became more widely used as a representation of the French people.
In the Middle Ages, the Gallic Rooster was widely used as a religious symbol, the sign of hope and faith. It was also used during the Renaissance period by the emerging French nation and examples can be found throughout the Louvre and Versailles. The Revolution established the rooster as the representation of the Nation’s identity, but Napoleon replaced the rooster with an eagle as the Emperor said “The rooster has no power, he cannot be the image of an empire the likes of France.” However, rising patriotric feeling during the First World War returned the rooster as the nation’s symbol to represent resistance and bravery in the face of the Prussian eagle.
The rooster springing from peasant origins, and of a proud, opiniated, courageous and prolific character demonstrates the ideals the French are proud of. So the rooster remains as a national symbol of France, although not an official one.
The rooster has been used by French companies as part of their branding, the most famous being Le Coq Sportif, which Emile Camuset started out as a small hosery company in 1882 in Roomily-sur-Seine, in a part of the Champagne region called the Aube. The company’s history is a fascinating read.
The rooster is a quintessential french country decor symbol, decorating bake wear, soft furnishings and other homewares. Decorating with pieces sporting the rooster will immediately give your decor a country feel and for me I just love my colourful rooster who reminds me of France and its interesting, proud people. The popular HB Henriot Pottery Factory in Quimper, Brittany has been creating hand crafted unique painted pottery pieces for over 300 years. The Quimper pottery is famous for its Breton figures and old pieces are valuable. The Henriot factory runs tours and pottery can be purchased on site. The French cockeral is one of their many colourful designs. Have you toured the Henriot factory? Or brought home a rooster souvenir from France to decorate your home? Annette xx