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France: Municipalities

Last modified: 2011-12-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: municipality | commune |
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Use of symbols by French municipalities

In France, it is mandatory for a municipality to hoist the French national flag in front of the town house (mairie or hôtel de ville). The flag is sometimes embroided with the name of the town like on the Tricolore flags used in Saint-Lambert or in Saint-Tropez. The municipality is also allowed to use a specific flag representing the town in addition to the national flag, like the vertically divided red-white-red, traditional flag of Saint-Tropez.

Dominique Cureau, 4 February 2006

On 5 January 1998, MP Dominique Paillé submitted the following written question to the competent ministry:
Is the design of the municipal seal, affixed to the municipal acts, subjected to specific rules?

The answer, published in the Official Gazette of the National Assembly, is "No".
The official seals and stamps of the municipalities shall authentify the acts issued by the municipal authorities. There are neither laws nor regulations prescribing the design of the municipal seals. Some of them show the municipal coat of arms, the name of the municipality surrounded by a laurel or oak wreath, or, more traditionally, the effigy of the Republic [Marianne] surrounded by the name of the municipality.
The use of municipal seals is prescribed by the Law of 18 March 1918 regulating the manufacturing and selling of official seals and stamps. Manufacturing them is not permitted without written permission of the Mayor. Moreover, forgery, manufacture or fraudulent use of municipal seals is punished by Penal Code, articles 444-3 and 444-4.

Ivan Sache, 15 April 2001