France - A spotlight
France is one of only seven countries that took part in the very first Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956 and since then has taken part every single year with the exception of just two years; once due to the death of the president and the second due to a change of heart from the head of entertainment of the broadcaster at the time.
It is one of the most successful countries in the competition, winning the contest five times, coming second four times and coming third seven times - we take a stroll down the Champs Elysees and look back at their history in the contest.
1956 - Le Temps Perdu - Mathé Altéry
France’s very first entry into the contest was in the chanson style - and the title translates as “The lost times” sung by Mathé Altéry
The scores from the first contest have never been made public and so all other songs were officially classed as second place, so we don’t actually know where the song was placed.
Unfortunately there is no video footage of the French entry for the very first contest, but audio recordings have survived:
1969 - Un jour, un enfant - Frida Boccara
This was France’s fourth win in the contest having had much success in previous years with every previous entry baring one resulting in a top five in the competition.
This year was significant as there was a four way tie in the results and France shared its victory with the UK, Spain and The Netherlands.
Un jour, un enfant (A day, a child) tells the story of the wonders of the world from the view of a child and is a classical balad.
1977 -L'oiseau et l'enfant - Marie Myriam
Marie Myriam was the last winning song for France to date, with her song The Bird and the Child.
Myriam recorded the song in five languages and it is definitely one of the Eurovision classics.
1979 - Je suis l’enfant soleil - Anne Marie David
Anne Marie David represented France in 1979 with Je suis l’enfant soleil (I am the sun child) following her iconic win in 1973 for Luxembourg.
We were fortunate enough for Anne Marie to take part in our third edition of EuroStarz in 2017 where she entertained the crowds with a series of Eurovision classics.
Je suis l’enfant soleil tells the story of a love affair with a stranger.
1991 Amina - Le Dernier Que A Parlé
The last one who spoke was written by Amina herself and is seen to be a criticism of the Gulf War, which was going on at the time.
France came second this year, and had the current tiebreaker rules come into effect, France would have won outright as 1 more country voted for Amina over Carola (18-17).
2001 Natasha St-Pier- Je nai que mon âme
Natasha is a Canadian singer and was chosen to represent France with “All I have is my soul”.
This was the first time in France’s history of the contest that some of the lyrics of their entry were in English.
The song is a power ballad and talks about redirecting a doomed relationship.
2016 Amir - J'ai Cherché
This up beat dance number from Amir represented the best result for France since 2002, placing sixth in the grand final.
This marked a significant change for France as it was really well received by the fans in the run up to the contest, and the song has been listened to on radio over 1.2 billion times, earning Amir the first W9 Gold Award!
2021 Barbara Pravi - Voilà
Barbara Pravi will be representing France this year with her song Voila - a song about acceptance, female empowerment and performing to the world.
Even before the national selection Eurovision France: C’est vous qui décidez there was a buzz around the track and it became a fan favourite.
“I often think that ‘Voilà’ is the end and the beginning of something,” she said. “It’s the end of twenty five years of a battle with myself to feel happy, to feel proud, to understand that I am capable of doing things. It’s the beginning because now I am ready to say hello, that’s me, and I don’t mind if you like me…because that’s just what I am. That’s everything I am…..This is all I have, this is all I got, here I am, and voilà.”
Could this be the year that sees France take the trophy home once more after 44 years?