The current Emblem of France has been a symbol of France since 1953, although it does not have any legal status as an official coat of arms. It appears on the cover of French passports and was adopted originally by the French Foreign Ministry as a symbol for use by diplomatic and consular missions in 1912 using a design by the sculptor Jules-Clément Chaplain.
In 1953, France received a request from the United Nations for a copy of the national coat of arms to be displayed alongside the coats of arms of other member states in its assembly chamber. An inter ministerial commission requested Robert Louis (1902–1965), heraldic artist, to produce a version of the Chaplain design. This did not, however, constitute an adoption of an official coat of arms by the Republic.
It consists of:
A wide shield with, on the one end a lion-head and on the other an eagle-head, bearing a monogram "RF" standing for République Française (French Republic).
A laurel branch symbolizes victory of the Republic.
An oak branch symbolizes perennity or wisdom.
The fasces, a symbol associated with justice (the bundle of rods and an axe, carried by Roman lictors). This use of the fasces predates the adoption of this symbol by Benito Mussolini as the emblem of Italian Fascism.
In September 1999, the French government adopted a unique official identifier for its communication, incorporating the Republic's motto, the colours of the flag, and Marianne, the Republic's personification.