France 1957


France took part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time in 1957. The country was represented by Paul Desjardins with the song “La belle amour”. Paule Desjardins was a rather unknown singer at the time of the contest. The song was composed by Guy Lafarge and the lyrics were written by Francis Carco.

The national selection

It is not known whether the French broadcaster held a national final or if the song was selected internally. It is thought that France organised a national selection whose name was « Sept villes, une chanson » (Seven towns, one song). This TV programm, whose relationship with the Eurovision Song Contest is uncertain, have been considered one of the most crazy national final format in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. This TV programm was a contest full of dubious rules and decisions that can hardly be explained.

Six shows were held from December 1956. The contest probably wasn’t in the beginning a national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. In the first two shows, the Eurovision Song Contest wasn’t mentioned in this TV programm.

Seven towns each had a jury and each jury member gave one point to his or her favourite song. This voting system was very similar to the voting system in the Eurovision Song Contest from 1957 to next years. In the next stages of this show, there were only six juries for unknowns reasons. The results were announced at the end of each show, so six winners were chosen by the juries. However, there was never a final, because the sixth show was held only three days before the Eurovision Song Contest 1957. Anyway, the song La belle amour, winner of the fifth show, was sent to the Eurovision Song Contest. There it was not sung by the original performer Josette Privat but by Paule Desjardins.

At Eurovision

At the Eurovision Song Contest in Frankfurt, the French entry was performed eighth among the ten contestants following Germany with “Telefon, Telefon” and preceding Denmark with “Skibet skal sejle i nat”. Paule Desjardins delivered a simple and static performance as usual in these days. In the background, the stage showed a picture of a street café typically for Paris to illustrate the country the song represents. Being a hot favourite,[1] France finished second among the ten contestants. At the close of voting, it has received 17 points, almost only half of the points the Dutch winner received (31 points). Six countries gave points to the French entry, which means two thirds exactly of the other countries. The French jury itself gave only two countries any points: the Netherlands and most notably six points to Germany, by far the highest mark for the host country. Remarkably, France has also got its highest vote from Germany – again six points.


Every country had a jury of ten people. Every jury member could give one point to his or her favourite song.