As part of the original founders of the Eurovision Song Contest France has been participating since 1956.
The country was rather successful in its first 30 years, winning 5 times in this time frame:
1958: André Claveau performing Dors, mon amour
1960: Jacqueline Boyer performing Tom Pillibi
1962: Isabelle Aubret performing Un premier amour
1969: Frida Boccara performing Un jour, un enfant
1977: Marie Myriam performing L’oiseau et l’enfant
France has forfeited the competition only twice since its creation, once in 1974 due to the death of the French president right before the festival. And again in 1982 as the French head of entertainment found the contestants to be of low quality. In the past twelve years, France – even though it is one of the ‘big five’, the countries thatpay the highest contribution to the European Broadcasting Union and thus can skip the qualification rounds – only managed to reached the top ten twice.
(T: Sarah Hansen)