In the Middle Ages, the Gallic Rooster was widely used as a religious symbol, the sign of hope and faith. It was during the Renaissance that the rooster began to be associated with the emerging French nation. Under the Valois and the Bourbon kings, the royal effigy was often accompanied by this animal, meant to stand for France, in engravings and on coins.
Although still a minor emblem, the rooster could be found at both the Louvre and Versailles. The Latin word Gallus means both “rooster” and “inhabitant of Gaul”. Certain ancient coins bore a rooster, but the animal was not yet used as the emblem of the tribes of Gaul. Gradually the figure of the rooster became the most widely shared representation of the French people.
The Gallic rooster, colloquially named Chanteclair, had been a national emblem ever since, especially during the Third French Republic. The rooster was featured on the reverse of French 20-franc gold pieces from 1899 to 1914. After World War I it was depicted on countless war memorials. Today, it is often used as a national mascot, particularly in sporting events such as football (soccer) and rugby. The 1998 FIFA World Cup, hosted by France, adopted a rooster named Footixas mascot. The France national rugby league team are known as the Chanteclairs referring to the cockerel’s song.