France (1852-1870)


Originally written as a love song, the melody was attributed to Hortense de Beauharnais, queen of the Netherlands and mother of Emperor Napoleon III, the French ruler of this time, but musicologist Arthur Pougin determined the true author of the melody was Louis-François-Philippe Drouet, flutist at the court of Louis, King de Hollande, although it was a favourite of Queen Hortense.

The song was a favourite of the Bonapartists during the times before the Second Empire (when this was used as the anthem), and was also popular during the First Empire. The song was so prevalent during the days of the second Empire, it became known as the national anthem (and is still popular with French soldiers today).

Special thanks to: “Erwan” for the lyrics and some of this information, and William E. Hitchins for some additional information.