Macron makes switch to navy blue on French flag

Tricolour changed to a brighter blue in 1976 to match the flag of Europe

The official French flag is looking a little less bright these days.

President Emmanuel Macron has returned the colours of the flag to include its previous navy blue shade, replacing the brighter blue, without any fanfare.

Officials told local media flags displaying the darker blue were hoisted at the country's presidential palace last year.

Mr Macron wanted to bring back the navy blue flag, a symbol of the French Revolution, radio station Europe 1 said.

Both the darker and lighter flags have been in use for decades. France's navy and many official buildings around the country have always used the navy blue shade.

But in 1976, under President Giscard d'Estaing, the French state introduced a brighter blue on the tricolour to match the blue on the flag of Europe.

The decision was partly an aesthetic one, Europe 1 reported, because the French and European flags flew next to each other in so many locations.

The Elysee Palace has not publicly announced its change in flags and no orders have been given for other institutions to do the same.

There was reportedly some disagreement over Mr Macron's change back to navy blue, with some arguing the new shade was ugly and would clash with the EU flag, and others nostalgic for the pre-1976 version.

Updated: November 15th 2021, 8:56 AM