The France national rugby union team
in rugby union
. They compete annually against England
in the Six Nations Championship
. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams
. Eight former French players have been inducted into either the International Rugby Hall of Fame
or the IRB Hall of Fame
—two to the International Hall only, two to the IRB Hall only, and four to both Halls of Fame.
France traditionally play in blue shirts with white shorts and red socks, and are commonly referred to as les tricolores or les bleus. The French emblem is a golden rooster imposed upon a red shield. Their alternative strip is composed of a white shirt and navy blue shorts and socks. French international matches are played at several venues across the country; the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis is used for their games during the Six Nations, and they have a formidable home record at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille where they have only lost twice, to Argentina in 2004 and to New Zealand in 2009.
Pierre Benjamin Monteux
(4 April 1875 – 1 July 1964) was a French (later American) conductor
. After violin and viola
studies, and a decade as an orchestral player and occasional conductor, he began to receive regular conducting engagements in 1907. He came to prominence when, for Sergei Diaghilev
's Ballets Russes
company between 1911 and 1914, he conducted the world premieres of Stravinsky
's The Rite of Spring
and other prominent works including Petrushka
's Daphnis et Chloé
, and Debussy
. Thereafter he directed orchestras around the world for more than half a century.
From 1917 to 1919 Monteux was the principal conductor of the French repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He led the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1919–24), Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra (1924–34), Orchestre Symphonique de Paris (1929–38) and San Francisco Symphony (1936–52). In 1961, aged eighty-six, he accepted the chief conductorship of the London Symphony Orchestra, a post which he held until his death three years later. Although known for his performances of the French repertoire, his chief love was the music of German composers, above all Brahms.
In 1932 he began a conducting class in Paris, which he developed into a summer school that was later moved to his summer home in Les Baux in the south of France. After moving permanently to the US in 1942, and taking American citizenship, he founded a school for conductors and orchestral musicians in Hancock, Maine.