France in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Member stationFrance Télévisions (1993–present)
Former members
National selection events
National final
  • 1957–1959
  • 1961
  • 1970
  • 1973
  • 1976–1981
  • 1983–1987
  • 1999–2000
  • 2005–2007
  • 2014
  • 2021–2022[1]
  • Destination Eurovision
  • 2018–2019
Internal selection
  • 1960
  • 1962–1969
  • 1971–1972
  • 1975
  • 1988–1998
  • 2001–2004
  • 2008–2013
  • 2015–2017
  • 2020
Participation summary
First appearance1956
Best result1st: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
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 2021

France has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 63 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" countries that are automatically prequalified for the final, due to being the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). France has won the contest five times.

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 has also finished second five times, with Paule Desjardins (1957), Catherine Ferry (1976), Joëlle Ursull (1990), Amina (1991), who lost out to Sweden's Carola in a tie-break, and Barbara Pravi (2021).

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 three times, with Natasha St-Pier fourth (2001), Sandrine François fifth (2002) and Barbara Pravi second (2021). France's other top 10 results in the century are Patricia Kaas's eighth place in 2009 and Amir's sixth place in 2016. France finished last for the first time in 2014, when Twin Twin received only two points.


Several French broadcasters have been used to present Eurovision in the country, formerly RTF (1956–64), ORTF (1965–74), TF1 (1975–81) and Antenne 2 (1983–92). Since 1993, France Télévisions has been responsible for France's participation in the contest, with the final being broadcast on France 2 (1993–98, 2015–present) and France 3 (1999–2014), and the semi-final which France votes in broadcast on France 4 (2005–10, 2016–present) 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. 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 history[edit]

France is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision, winning the contest five times, coming second five times and coming third seven times. However, France has only hosted the Eurovision contest three times (1959, 1961, 1978).[2] 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 introduced, 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 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 would represent France in the future. With these ambitions, the French superstar Patricia Kaas represented France in the 2009 contest. Kaas is one of the most successful French-speaking singers in the world and she has sold over 16 million records worldwide. 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, 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. That record would later be broken once again in 2021, as Barbara Pravi with her song "Voilà" finished in 2nd place with 499 points, France's best result since 1991, only 25 points behind eventual winners Måneskin from Italy.


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.[3] 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"]."[4] Antenne 2 took over the job due to public reaction of TF1's withdrawal, hosting a national final to select their entry as well, from the 1983 contest.

France and the "Big Five"[edit]

Since 1999, four countries – the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain – have automatically qualified for the Eurovision final regardless of their results in previous contests.[5] They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Italy returned to the contest in 2011, thus upgrading the countries to members of a "Big Five".[6][7]


Table key
Second place
Third place
Last place
Entry selected but did not compete
Year Artist Song Language Final Points Semi Points
Mathé Altéry "Le temps perdu" French 2[a] N/A No semi-finals
Dany Dauberson "Il est là" French 2[a]
Paule Desjardins "La belle amour" French 2 17
André Claveau "Dors, mon amour" French 1 27
Jean Philippe "Oui, oui, oui, oui" French 3 15
Jacqueline Boyer "Tom Pillibi" French 1 32
Jean-Paul Mauric "Printemps, avril carillonne" French 4 13
Isabelle Aubret "Un premier amour" French 1 26
Alain Barrière "Elle était si jolie" French 5 25
Rachel "Le chant de Mallory" French 4 14
Guy Mardel "N'avoue jamais" French 3 22
Dominique Walter "Chez nous" French 16 1
Noëlle Cordier "Il doit faire beau là-bas" French 3 20
Isabelle Aubret "La source" French 3 20
Frida Boccara "Un jour, un enfant" French 1 18
Guy Bonnet "Marie-Blanche" French 4 8
Serge Lama "Un jardin sur la terre" French 10 82
Betty Mars "Comé-comédie" French 11 81
Martine Clemenceau "Sans toi" French 15 65
Dani "La vie à vingt-cinq ans" French Withdrew X
Nicole Rieu "Et bonjour à toi l'artiste" French 4 91 No semi-finals
Catherine Ferry "Un, deux, trois" French 2 147
Marie Myriam "L'oiseau et l'enfant" French 1 136
Joël Prévost "Il y aura toujours des violons" French 3 119
Anne-Marie David "Je suis l'enfant soleil" French 3 106
Profil "Hé, hé M'sieurs dames" French 11 45
Jean Gabilou "Humanahum" French 3 125
Guy Bonnet "Vivre" French 8 56
Annick Thoumazeau "Autant d'amoureux que d'étoiles" French 8 61
Roger Bens "Femme dans ses rêves aussi" French 10 56
Cocktail Chic "Européennes" French 17 13
Christine Minier "Les mots d'amour n'ont pas de dimanche" French 14 44
Gérard Lenorman "Chanteur de charme" French 10 64
Nathalie Pâque "J'ai volé la vie" French 8 60
Joëlle Ursull "White and Black Blues" French 2 132
Amina "C'est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison" French 2 146
Kali "Monté la riviè" French, Antillean Creole 8 73
Patrick Fiori "Mama Corsica" French, Corsican 4 121 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
Nina Morato "Je suis un vrai garçon" French 7 74 No semi-finals
Nathalie Santamaria "Il me donne rendez-vous" French 4 94
Dan Ar Braz & L'Héritage des Celtes "Diwanit Bugale" Breton 19 18 11 55
Fanny "Sentiments songes" French 7 95 No semi-finals
Marie Line "Où aller" French 24 3
Nayah "Je veux donner ma voix" French 19 14
Sofia Mestari "On aura le ciel" French 23 5
Natasha St-Pier "Je n'ai que mon âme" French, English 4 142
Sandrine François "Il faut du temps" French 5 104
Louisa Baïleche "Monts et merveilles" French 18 19
Jonatan Cerrada "À chaque pas" French, Spanish 15 40 Member of the "Big 4"
Ortal "Chacun pense à soi" French 23 11
Virginie Pouchain "Il était temps" French 22 5
Les Fatals Picards "L'amour à la française" French, English 22 19
Sébastien Tellier "Divine" English1 19 47
Patricia Kaas "Et s'il fallait le faire" French 8 107
Jessy Matador "Allez Ola Olé" French 12 82
Amaury Vassili "Sognu" Corsican 15 82 Member of the "Big 5"
Anggun "Echo (You and I)" French, English 22 21
Amandine Bourgeois "L'enfer et moi" French 23 14
Twin Twin "Moustache" French2 26 ◁ 2
Lisa Angell "N'oubliez pas" French 25 4
Amir "J'ai cherché" French, English 6 257
Alma "Requiem" French, English 12 135
Madame Monsieur "Mercy" French 13 173
Bilal Hassani "Roi" French, English 16 105
Tom Leeb "Mon alliée (The Best in Me)" French, English Contest cancelled[b] X
Barbara Pravi "Voilà" French 2 499 Member of the "Big 5"
Confirmed intention to participate [8]
1.^ Contains some words in French.
2.^ Contains phrases in English and Spanish.


Year Location Venue Presenters
1959 Cannes Palais des Festivals Jacqueline Joubert
1978 Paris Palais des Congrès Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone


Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Year Category Song Composer(s)
lyrics (l) / music (m)
Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2002 Press Award "Il faut du temps" Rick Allison (m), Patrick Bruel (m&l), Marie-Florence Gros (l) Sandrine François 5 104 Estonia Tallinn
2009 Artistic Award[c] "Et s'il fallait le faire" Anse Lazio, Fred Blondin Patricia Kaas 8 107 Russia Moscow
2011 Composer Award "Sognu" Daniel Moyne (m), Quentin Bachelet (m),
Jean-Pierre Marcellesi (l), Julie Miller (l)
Amaury Vassili 15 82 Germany Düsseldorf
2018 Press Award "Mercy" Émilie Satt (m&l), Jean-Karl Lucas (m&l) Madame Monsieur 13 173 Portugal Lisbon
2021 Press Award
Artistic Award[d]
"Voilà" Barbara Pravi, Lili Poe, Igit (m&l) Barbara Pravi 2 499 Netherlands Rotterdam

Winner by OGAE members[edit]

Year Song Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2016 "J'ai cherché" Amir 6 257 Sweden Stockholm

Related involvement[edit]


Year Conductor[e] Musical Director Notes Ref.
1956 Franck Pourcel N/A [15]
1959 Franck Pourcel [f]
1960 Franck Pourcel N/A
1961 Franck Pourcel [g]
1962 Franck Pourcel N/A
1968 Alain Goraguer
1969 Franck Pourcel
1970 [16]
1973 Jean Claudric
1974 Jean-Claude Petit [h]
1975 Jean Musy
1976 Tony Rallo
1977 Raymond Donnez
1978 Alain Goraguer François Rauber
1979 Guy Matteoni N/A
1980 Italy Sylvano Santorio [i] [17]
1981 David Sprinfield
1983 François Rauber
1985 Michel Bernholc [j]
1986 Jean-Claude Petit
1988 Guy Matteoni
1990 Régis Dupré
1991 Jérôme Pillement
1992 Magdi Vasco Noverraz
1993 Christian Cravero
1994 Alain Goraguer
1995 Michel Bernholc
1996 Republic of Ireland Fiachra Trench
1997 Régis Dupré
1998 United Kingdom Martin Koch Host conductor[k]
1999 No orchestra [l]

Additionally, many French conductors have conducted for other countries (not counting instances where a French musical director had to step in for another country that didn't bring their own conductor), including:

Conductor Country Year(s) Notes
Raymond Lefèvre  Monaco 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963
 Luxembourg 1970
Léo Chauliac 1961 Winning conductor
Jacques Denjean 1964
Michel Colombier  Monaco 1964, 1968
Raymond Bernard 1965, 1972
Alain Goraguer  Luxembourg 1965 Winning conductor
 Monaco 1966
Aimé Barelli 1967
Claude Denjean  Luxembourg
André Borly 1968
Hervé Roy  Monaco 1969
  Switzerland 1973
 Luxembourg 1979
Jimmy Walter  Monaco 1970
Bernard Gérard   Switzerland
Jean-Claude Petit  Monaco 1971 Winning conductor
Jean Claudric  Luxembourg 1971, 1982
 Morocco 1980
Jean-Pierre Festi   Switzerland 1972
Jean-Claude Vannier  Monaco 1973
Raymond Donnez 1974, 1976
Pierre Chiffre  Belgium 1974
André Popp  Monaco 1975
Michel Bernholc  Belgium 1976
 Luxembourg 1983 Winning conductor
Yvon Rioland  Monaco 1977, 1978
Jean Musy  Belgium 1978
Daniel Janin   Switzerland
Gérard Salesses  Monaco 1979
Joël Rocher  Luxembourg 1981
Pascal Stivé 1984
Régis Dupré 1988
Benoît Kaufman 1989 Musical director
Thierry Durbet  Luxembourg 1990
Christian Jacob 1992

Heads of delegation[edit]

Year Head of delegation Ref.
20022012 Bruno Berberes
20132015 Frederic Valencak
20162018 Edoardo Grassi
2019 Steven Clerima
20202021 Alexandra Redde-Amiel

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

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 Commentator Spokesperson Ref.
Final Semi-final
1956 Michèle Rebel No semi-finals No spokesperson
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 No spokesperson
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 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
2001 Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Dave Corinne Hermès
2002 Marie Myriam
2003 Laurent Ruquier, Isabelle Mergault Sandrine François
2004 Laurent Ruquier, Elsa Fayer No broadcast Alex Taylor
2005 Julien Lepers, Guy Carlier Peggy Olmi Marie Myriam
2006 Michel Drucker, Claudy Siar Peggy Olmi, Eric Jean-Jean Sophie Jovillard
2007 Julien Lepers, Tex Peggy Olmi, Yann Renoard Vanessa Dolmen
2008 Julien Lepers, Jean-Paul Gaultier Cyril Hanouna
2009 Cyril Hanouna, Julien Courbet Yann Renoard
2010 Cyril Hanouna, Stéphane Bern Audrey Chauveau
2011 Laurent Boyer, Catherine Lara Audrey Chauveau, Bruno Berberes Cyril Féraud
2012 Cyril Féraud, Mireille Dumas Amaury Vassili
2013 Marine Vignes
2014 Cyril Féraud, Natasha St-Pier Elodie Suigo
2015 Stéphane Bern, Marianne James Mareva Galanter, Jérémy Parayre Virginie Guilhaume
2016 Marianne James, Jarry Élodie Gossuin
2017 Stéphane Bern, Marianne James, Amir
2018 Stéphane Bern, Christophe Willem, Alma Christophe Willem, André Manoukian
2019 Stéphane Bern, André Manoukian Sandy Héribert, André Manoukian Julia Molkhou
2021 Stéphane Bern, Laurence Boccolini Laurence Boccolini Carla


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, as only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all other songs as being placed second.
  2. ^ The 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. ^ Voted by previous winners.
  4. ^ Voted by the national commentators.
  5. ^ All conductors are of French nationality unless otherwise noted.
  6. ^ Also conducted for Austria, Germany, Monaco, Sweden, and Switzerland
  7. ^ Also conducted for Austria and Germany
  8. ^ Announced as the French conductor prior to the country's withdrawal
  9. ^ Conducted at the national final by François Rauber
  10. ^ Conducted at the national final by François Rauber.
  11. ^ Koch conducted a small string arrangement added to the performance over the course of rehearsals; he did not take the traditional conductor's bow.
  12. ^ Although the international final did not feature the orchestra, there was one for the national final, conducted by Rene Coll.
  13. ^ Co-conducted with Henrik Krogsgård


  1. ^ Granger, Anthony (3 May 2021). "🇫🇷 France: National Selection Will Be Held For Eurovision 2022". Eurovoix. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  2. ^ "History by Events". Eurovision Song Contest.
  3. ^ History - Eurovision Song Contest 1974
  4. ^ 1982 Eurovision source in French
  5. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Fulton, Rick (14 May 2007). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  8. ^ Granger, Anthony (3 May 2021). "France: National Selection Will Be Held For Eurovision 2022". Eurovoix. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Marcel Bezençon Awards". 2 April 2017. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  10. ^ Klier, Marcus (18 May 2009). "The Eurovision 2009 Marcel Bezençon Awards". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards". 16 May 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Here are the winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards 2018!". 12 May 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  13. ^ "The Marcel Bezençon Award". 22 May 2021.
  14. ^ Cobb, Ryan (21 April 2017). "Analysing ten years of OGAE voting: "Underneath the fan favourite bias is a worthwhile indicator"". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  15. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2012). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume One: The 1950s and 1960s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 93–101. ISBN 978-1-84583-065-6. |volume= has extra text (help)
  16. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2014). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume Two: The 1970s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 142–168. ISBN 978-1-84583-093-9. |volume= has extra text (help)
  17. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2016). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume Three: The 1980s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84583-118-9. |volume= has extra text (help)
  18. ^ Jordan, Paul (28 January 2018). "Find out who is on Germany's global team for Eurovision 2018". Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  19. ^ Granger, Anthony (24 September 2019). "France: Edoardo Grassi new Head of Delegation". Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  20. ^ a b Farren, Neil (4 October 2018). "France: Steven Clerima Revealed as New Head of Delegation". Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  21. ^ Farren, Neil (6 December 2019). "France: Steven Clerima Steps Down as Head of Delegation".
  22. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (22 June 2020). "France: France 2 confirms participation at ESC 2O21 with national final". ESCToday. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  23. ^ "FRANCE 2019 : Stéphane Bern, André Manoukian et Sandy Héribert aux commentaires". (in French). 20 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  24. ^ Herbert, Emily (26 April 2019). "France: Julia Molkhou Revealed as Eurovision 2019 Spokesperson". Retrieved 6 December 2019.