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France in the Eurovision Song Contest

France has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 62 times since its debut at the first contest in 1956. France is one of only seven countries to be present at the first contest, and has been absent from only two contests in its history, missing the 1974 and 1982 contests. Along with Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, France is one of the "Big Five" who are automatically allowed to participate in the final because they are the five biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). France has won the contest five times.

Member stationFrance 2 (France Télévisions)
National selection events
Participation summary
First appearance1956
Best result1st: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
Worst resultLast: 2014
External links
French broadcaster page
France's page at
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

France first won the contest in 1958 with "Dors, mon amour" performed by André Claveau. Three more victories followed in the 1960s, with "Tom Pillibi" performed by Jacqueline Boyer in 1960, "Un Premier Amour" performed by Isabelle Aubret in 1962 and "Un jour, un enfant" performed by Frida Boccara, who won in 1969 in a four-way tie with the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. France's fifth victory came in 1977, when Marie Myriam won with the song "L'oiseau et l'enfant". France have also finished second four times, with Paule Desjardins (1957), Catherine Ferry (1976), Joëlle Ursull (1990) and Amina (1991), who lost out to Sweden's Carola in a tie-break.

After reaching the top five in 24 contests in the 20th century, France has had less success in the 21st century, only making the top five twice, with Natasha St-Pier fourth in 2001 and Sandrine François fifth in 2002. France finished last for the first time in 2014, when Twin Twin received only two points. France have failed to reach the top 10 in 15 of the last 17 contests, the exceptions being Patricia Kaas, who was eighth in 2009, and Amir, who was sixth in 2016.


Several French broadcasters have been used to present Eurovision in the country, formerly RTF (1956–64), ORTF (1965–74) and TF1 (1975–81). Since 1983, France Télévisions has been responsible for France's participation in the contest, with the final being broadcast on France 2 (1983–98) and France 3 (1999–2014), and the semi-final which France votes in broadcast on France 4 (2005–10, 2016) and later France Ô (2011–15). The semi-final in 2004 was not broadcast. The viewers which were close enough to Monaco, were able to see the semi-final via TMC Monte-Carlo. From 2015, France 2 resumed the responsibility of organising an entry and broadcasting the final and from 2016, both semi-finals will be broadcast by France 4. The change is an attempt to secure better ratings and results in forthcoming contests. Radio coverage has been provided, although not every year, by France Inter from 1971 to 1998 and since 2001, France Bleu (also 1976). In 1982, RTL Radio transmitted the contest due to the country's absence that year.

France has often changed the selection process used in order to find the country's entry for the contest, either a national final or internal selection (occasionally a combination of both formats) has been held by the broadcaster at the time.

Contest historyEdit

France is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision, winning the contest five times, coming second four times and coming third seven times. France was ranked first in number of victories (either alone or tied with other countries) without interruptions from 1960 to 1993. Moreover, Amina was close to victory with the song "Le Dernier qui a parlé..." in 1991, when she finished in joint first place (with the same number of points as Sweden). Therefore, the 'countback' rule applied, but both countries had an equal number of twelve points (four lots), but the victory went to Sweden, when France had fewer 10-point scores. Today, with the new rules, France would have won the competition, because they received points from more countries than Sweden. One year before, France was also close to winning with Joëlle Ursull performing Serge Gainsbourg's song "White and Black Blues". The song finished in equal second place with Ireland's entry.

However, in recent years, the French results have been somewhat disappointing. Since 1998, when the televoting was invented, France has almost always been in the bottom-10 countries in the final, coming 18th (2003 and 2008), 19th (1999), 22nd (2006, 2007 and 2012), 23rd (2000, 2005 and 2013), 24th (1998) and 25th (2015). France finished in last place, for the first time in their Eurovision history, in 2014 with only 2 points.

Yet, France have had some good results during the 21st century. In 2001, Canadian singer Natasha St-Pier came 4th for France with her song "Je n'ai que mon âme", being the favourite to win the contest by fans and odds. This good result was carried into the 2002 contest, when Sandrine François came 5th with "Il faut du temps" and received the Marcel Bezençon international press award for the best entry of that year. Finally, the positive experience with Sébastien Tellier in 2008 created considerable interest among the French show business for the contest, which resulted in the fact that Eurovision is seen now in the French media as a great advertising campaign and it has been decided that big names will represent France in the future. With these ambitions, the French superstar Patricia Kaas represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia. Kaas is one of the most successful French-speaking singers in the world and she has sold over 16 million records worldwide.[1] She ended in 8th place. Kaas received the Marcel Bezençon artistic award, which was voted on by previous winners and presented to the best artist. In the 2016 Contest in Stockholm, Sweden, Amir with his song, "J'ai cherché", ended in 6th place and broke a 40-year record by scoring the most points in France's Eurovision history, by scoring 257 points in the final.


Since their debut in 1956 France has only missed two contests, in 1974 and 1982. In 1974, after selecting a singer and song to represent them at the contest, France withdrew after the President of France Georges Pompidou died in the week of the contest.[2] If they had participated in the contest, France would have been represented by Dani with the song "La vie à vingt-cinq ans".

In November 1981, TF1 declined to enter the Eurovision Song Contest for 1982, with the head of entertainment, Pierre Bouteiller, saying, "The absence of talent and the mediocrity of the songs were where annoyance set in. Eurovision is a monument to inanity [sometimes translated as "drivel"]."[3] Antenne 2 took over the job due to public reaction of TF1's withdraw, hosting a national final to select their entry as well, from the 1983 contest.

France and the "Big Five"Edit

Since 1999, four particular countries have automatically qualified for the Eurovision final, regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests.[4] They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU. These countries are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Italy returned to the contest in 2011, thus becoming part of a "Big Five".[5][6]


Table key
Second place
Third place
Last place
Year Artist Language Song Final Points Semi Points
1956 Mathé Altéry French "Le temps perdu" 2[a] N/A No semi-finals
Dany Dauberson French "Il est là" 2[a] N/A
1957 Paule Desjardins French "La belle amour" 2 17
1958 André Claveau French "Dors, mon amour" 1 27
1959 Jean Philippe French "Oui, oui, oui, oui" 3 15
1960 Jacqueline Boyer French "Tom Pillibi" 1 32
1961 Jean-Paul Mauric French "Printemps, avril carillonne" 4 13
1962 Isabelle Aubret French "Un premier amour" 1 26
1963 Alain Barrière French "Elle était si jolie" 5 25
1964 Rachel French "Le chant de Mallory" 4 14
1965 Guy Mardel French "N'avoue jamais" 3 22
1966 Dominique Walter French "Chez nous" 16 1
1967 Noëlle Cordier French "Il doit faire beau là-bas" 3 20
1968 Isabelle Aubret French "La source" 3 20
1969 Frida Boccara French "Un jour, un enfant" 1 18
1970 Guy Bonnet French "Marie-Blanche" 4 8
1971 Serge Lama French "Un jardin sur la terre" 10 82
1972 Betty Mars French "Comé-comédie" 11 81
1973 Martine Clemenceau French "Sans toi" 15 65
1974 Dani French "La vie à vingt-cinq ans" Withdrew
1975 Nicole Rieu French "Et bonjour à toi l'artiste" 4 91 No semi-finals
1976 Catherine Ferry French "Un, deux, trois" 2 147
1977 Marie Myriam French "L'oiseau et l'enfant" 1 136
1978 Joël Prévost French "Il y aura toujours des violons" 3 119
1979 Anne-Marie David French "Je suis l'enfant soleil" 3 106
1980 Profil French "Hé, hé M'sieurs dames" 11 45
1981 Jean Gabilou French "Humanahum" 3 125
1982 Did not participate
1983 Guy Bonnet French "Vivre" 8 56 No semi-finals
1984 Annick Thoumazeau French "Autant d'amoureux que d'étoiles" 8 61
1985 Roger Bens French "Femme dans ses rêves aussi" 10 56
1986 Cocktail Chic French "Européennes" 17 13
1987 Christine Minier French "Les mots d'amour n'ont pas de dimanche" 14 44
1988 Gérard Lenorman French "Chanteur de charme" 10 64
1989 Nathalie Pâque French "J'ai volé la vie" 8 60
1990 Joëlle Ursull French "White and Black Blues" 2 132
1991 Amina French "C'est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison" 2 146
1992 Kali French, Antillean Creole "Monté la riviè" 8 73
1993 Patrick Fiori French, Corsican "Mama Corsica" 4 121 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1994 Nina Morato French "Je suis un vrai garçon" 7 74 No semi-finals
1995 Nathalie Santamaria French "Il me donne rendez-vous" 4 94
1996 Dan Ar Braz & L'Héritage des Celtes Breton "Diwanit Bugale" 19 18 11 55
1997 Fanny French "Sentiments songes" 7 95 No semi-finals
1998 Marie Line French "Où aller" 24 3
1999 Nayah French "Je veux donner ma voix" 19 14
2000 Sofia Mestari French "On aura le ciel" 23 5
2001 Natasha St-Pier French, English "Je n'ai que mon âme" 4 142
2002 Sandrine François French "Il faut du temps" 5 104
2003 Louisa Baïleche French "Monts et merveilles" 18 19
2004 Jonatan Cerrada French, Spanish "À chaque pas" 15 40 Member of "Big 4"
2005 Ortal French "Chacun pense à soi" 23 11
2006 Virginie Pouchain French "Il était temps" 22 5
2007 Les Fatals Picards French, English "L'amour à la française" 22 19
2008 Sébastien Tellier English, French "Divine" 19 47
2009 Patricia Kaas French "Et s'il fallait le faire" 8 107
2010 Jessy Matador French "Allez Ola Olé" 12 82
2011 Amaury Vassili Corsican "Sognu" 15 82 Member of "Big 5"
2012 Anggun French, English "Echo (You and I)" 22 21
2013 Amandine Bourgeois French "L'enfer et moi" 23 14
2014 Twin Twin French "Moustache" 26 2
2015 Lisa Angell French "N'oubliez pas" 25 4
2016 Amir French, English "J'ai cherché" 6 257
2017 Alma French, English "Requiem" 12 135
2018 Madame Monsieur French "Mercy" 13 173
2019 Bilal Hassani French, English "Roi" 16 105
  1. ^ The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all the other songs as being placed second.

Voting historyEdit

As of 2019, France's voting history is as follows:


Other awardsEdit

Marcel Bezençon AwardsEdit

Press Award

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2002 "Il faut du temps" Sandrine François 5th 104 Tallinn
2018 "Mercy" Madame Monsieur 13th 173 Lisbon

Artistic Award (Voted by previous winners)

Year Performer Song Final Result Points Host city
2009 Patricia Kaas "Et s'il fallait le faire" 8th 107 Moscow

Composer Award

Year Song Composer(s)
Lyrics (l) / Music (m)
Performer Final
Points Host city
2011 "Sognu" Daniel Moyne (m), Quentin Bachelet(m)
and Jean-Pierre Marcellesi (l), Julie Miller (l)
Amaury Vassili 15th 82 Düsseldorf

OGAE Eurovision Song Contest PollEdit

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2016 "J'ai cherché" Amir 6th 257 Stockholm

Commentators and spokespersonsEdit

Since their debut in 1956 French television have sent their best television presenters and entertainers including Pierre Tchernia, Léon Zitrone, Robert Beauvais, Olivier Minne, Michel Drucker, Patrick Sabatier and Laurent Boyer. Every year until 1979 Monaco shared the French commentary.

Year(s) Grand Final Television Commentator(s) Spokesperson Semi Final Television Commentator(s)
1956 Michèle Rebel N/A N/A No Semi Finals No Semi Finals
1957 Robert Beauvais Claude Darget
1958 Pierre Tchernia Armand Lanoux
1959 Claude Darget Marianne Lecène
1960 Pierre Tchernia Armand Lanoux
1961 Robert Beauvais
1962 Pierre Tchernia André Valmy
1963 Armand Lanoux
1964 Robert Beauvais Jean-Claude Massoulier
1965 Pierre Tchernia
1966 François Deguelt
1967 Pierre Tchernia
1971 Georges de Caunes N/A
1972 Pierre Tchernia
1974 Did not participate
1975 Georges de Caunes Marc Menant
1976 Jean-Claude Massoulier
1977 Georges de Caunes
1978 Léon Zitrone Denise Fabre Patrice Laffont
1979 Marc Menant N/A Fabienne Égal
1980 Patrick Sabatier
1981 Denise Fabre
1982 Andre Torrent Did not participate
1983 Léon Zitrone Nicole André
1985 Patrice Laffont Clémentine Célarié
1986 Patricia Lesieur
1987 Patrick Simpson-Jones Lionel Cassan
1988 Lionel Cassan Catherine Ceylac
1989 Marie-Ange Nardi
1990 Richard Adaridi Valérie Maurice
1991 Léon Zitrone Daniela Lumbroso
1992 Thierry Beccaro Olivier Minne
1993 Patrice Laffont
1994 Laurent Romejko
1995 Olivier Minne Thierry Beccaro
1996 Laurent Broomhead
1997 Frédéric Ferrer & Marie Myriam
1998 Chris Mayne Laura Mayne Marie Myriam
1999 Julien Lepers N/A
2001 Marc-Olivier Fogiel Dave Corinne Hermès
2002 Marie Myriam
2003 Laurent Ruquier Isabelle Mergault Sandrine François
2004 Elsa Fayer Alex Taylor No broadcast No broadcast
2005 Julien Lepers Guy Carlier Marie Myriam Peggy Olmi N/A
2006 Michel Drucker Claudy Siar Sophie Jovillard Eric Jean-Jean
2007 Julien Lepers Tex Vanessa Dolmen Yann Renoard
2008 Jean-Paul Gaultier Cyril Hanouna
2009 Cyril Hanouna Julien Courbet Yann Renoard
2010 Stéphane Bern Audrey Chauveau
2011 Laurent Boyer Catherine Lara Cyril Féraud Audrey Chauveau Bruno Berberes
2012 Cyril Féraud Mireille Dumas Amaury Vassili
2013 Marine Vignes
2014 Natasha St-Pier Elodie Suigo
2015 Stéphane Bern Marianne James Virginie Guilhaume Mareva Galanter Jérémy Parayre
2016 Élodie Gossuin Marianne James Jarry
2017 Marianne James
2018 Christophe Willem
Christophe Willem André Manoukian
2019 André Manoukian Julia Molkhou Sandy Heribert


All conductors are French except those with a flag.

Jean-Claude Petit would have also conducted the French entry in 1974 if France hadn't withdrawn.[7]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ History - Eurovision Song Contest 1974
  3. ^ 1982 Eurovision source in French
  4. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2009-05-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Fulton, Rick (2007-05-14). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
  7. ^

External linksEdit