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France 3 is the second largest Frenchmarker public television channel and part of the France Télévisionsmarker group, which also includes France 2, France 4, France 5, and France Ô.

It is made up of a network of regional television services providing daily news programming and around ten hours of entertainment and cultural programming produced for and about the regions each week. The channel also broadcasts various national programming and national and international news from Parismarker. The channel was known as FR3 or France Régions 3 until the formation of France Télévisionsmarker in September 1992.

Prior to the establishment of RFO, it also broadcast to the various French overseas territories.


La Chaîne Couleur (1972-1974)

The Third Channel (Channel 3) began broadcasting on 31 December 1972, then known as Couleur 3. The station's first Programme Director General (PDG), Jean-Louis Guillaud, decided to call on the ORTF's regional television services and aspiring young staff to join the new network, which would broadcast in colour, with no advertising or continuity announcers (although out-of-vision announcers were later introduced).

To begin with, Couleur 3's broadcasts were restricted to three hours each evening and only reached a potential audience of 26% of the population - its transmissions primarily covered Paris, the Ile-de-Francemarker and Northern regions. By the end of the decade, FR3 had become a fully national network.

Autonomous from the state (1974-1999)

On 7 October 1974, law reforms signalled the break up of the ORTF into six separate state-owned companies. In the case of the third channel, the Société nationale de programme de télévision France Régions 3 (FR3) was given responsibility for management and development of 22 regional television services and 29 regional radio stations under the editorialship of 11 broadcasting centres.

FR3 was launched on 6 January 1975 with its PDG, Claude Contaime, choosing to concentrate on film, debate and local opt-outs as the network's main output. By 22 March 1975, daily local progaramming for the regions had commenced. Some national programming, including Les Jeux de 20 Heures, made heavy use of the regional network by linking up to studios around the country for live features. In the case of Les Jeux de 20 Heures, it is said that such programming led the State government to understand the importance of regionalism and to gradually undertake measures to decentralise France administratively and economically.

On the programming front, the network's first national news programme was introduced in 1978 in the form of Soir 3, a late night national and international bulletin. 21 October 1981 saw FR3 begin regular live coverage of the ministers' questions of the National Assembly. Advertising was introduced to the network in January 1983. By September 1983, the twelve broadcasting centres around the country were airing an average of 3 hours a day of regional output. Popular programming on Saturday night included the first airings of the American soap opera Dynasty and a Disney Channel strand. National and regional news at peaktime was integrated into a new nightly programme, 19|20, launched on 6 May 1986.

Privatisation...almost (1986-1989)

In 1986, the then government of Jacques Chirac put forward the proposal of privatising one of the three public television companies. The original suggestion was to turn FR3 into a private body, however the final decision was that of TF1. The broadcasting authority at the time, the CNCL, appointed Rene Han to become programme controller of FR3, with the result that the networked programmes took an even more highbrow and cultural focus.

Changes to the schedule included a supplementary Friday night edition of Thalassa- le magazine de la mer whilst an televised opera was aired every Wednesday night. Popular quiz show Questions pour un champion made its broadcasting début in November 1988. La Classe, an entertainment programme which replaced Les Jeux de 20 heures and followed 19|20, was also introduced. Having launched without utilising speakerines, the network introduced in-vision announcers in September 1987 and retained live continuity until 1993, a year after TF1marker and France 2 had abandoned in-vision presentation.

Making the public sector stronger (1989-1990)

At the turn of the decade, the French television landscape which had been previously dominated by the three public stations now consisted of a strong private sector in the form of TF1marker and Canal+ and the now-fragmented public sector of Antenne 2 and FR3. In 1990, the State, through the Conseil Supérieure de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), decided to merge the separate public entities into a new corporation.

At the same time, FR3 was already closing down on Saturday afternoons to allow nine hours of airtime to the educational station La Sept. The arrangement continued until 1992 when the launch of the Franco-German network Arte led to the broadcaster's demise. On FR3 itself, the network aired current affairs programming on Saturday mornings including Continentales and L’Eurojournal, both presented by Alex Taylor.

The public union (1990-present)

On 7 September 1992, FR3 and Antenne 2 formed France Télévisions and rebranded as France 3 and France 2 respectively. In 1998, France 3 partnered with TPS to launch a satellite station called Régions.

Between 2000 and 2005, La Cinquième (now France 5), RFO (together with RFOsat, now France Ô) and France 4 joined France 2 and France 3 under the France Télévisionsmarker corporate identity.

Under the direction of France Télévisions président Patrick de Carolis and director of channels Patrice Duhamel, October 2006 saw the introduction of a new daily cultural programme called Ce soir (ou jamais!) presented by Frederic Taddei, marking a new, more cultural focus to the network's programming. The late night news programme Soir 3 was given a new, fixed timeslot of 11pm.

At present (2005- )

The channel is home to a diverse range of programming, from soap operas (Plus belle la vie) to cookery (Bon appétit bien sûr) and from culture (Des racines et des ailles) to quiz shows (Des chiffres et des lettres).

Another part of the channel is a great emphasis is on the celebration of the country as a whole and on the different regions which make up France (for example Plus belle la vie, a popular soap opera, is set in Marseille). Some of its well known programmes can also be seen as part of the schedules of TV5 Monde.


France 3 is a general entertainment channel which has missions to deliver domestic and regional programming, offering cultural and educational avantages. Its local and regional vocation has been assured by its new mission statement. (« Elle doit privileger l’information décentralisée et les événements régionaux »)Translated it reads:

'It must promote local news and regional events and to introduce and familiarise the different regions of France and Europe and « to give space to our lively spectacles ».'


France 3 was originally based at 13-15 rue Cognacq-Jay in Paris, which housed the television services of the former Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF).

Since TF1 became independent from the ORTF, FR3 was based at the Maison de la Radio in the XVIe arrondissementmarker in Paris with its editorial base located at 28 Cours Albert 1er in the VIIIe arrondissementmarker.

In 1998, France 3 moved to a new base at 7 Esplanade Henri de France in the XVe arrondissementmarker. This also houses the rest of France Télévisions' operations. The headquarters are accessible by taking the RER Line C at Boulevard Victor.


France 3 has less audience constraints when compared to sister channel France 2, with France 2 being the flagship public channel. This allows the channel to concentrate on specialist and cultural programming.

Journal télévisé (News)


12|13 is broadcast every day between 1145 and 1300 CET, presented by Stéphane Lippert on weekdays and Catherine Matausch at weekends.

A typical edition of 12|13 consists of national news headlines at 1145 followed by an Outre-Mer bulletin from the studios of RFO Paris at 1150. The regional opt-out bulletins (midi-pile) air at noon, followed by the national news from 1225-1255 CET.


France 3's flagship evening news programming block, 19|20, airs nightly between 1830 and 2000 CET. The nationwide sections of 19|20 are presented by Laurent Bignolas from Monday to Thursday and Catherine Matausch from Friday to Sunday.

A typical edition of 19|20 opens with the segment 18:30 aujourd'hui, a series of live reports and interviews from around the country. This is then followed by an opt-out for either regional news or local features, with the main regional news airing after this at 1900. The national news concludes the programming block at 1930.

Soir 3

Soir 3, broadcast every night at 2230 CET, is the network's late night news programme, presented by Carole Gaessler on weeknights and Francis Letellier at weekends.

On 5 January 2009, the programme began to incorporate a 5-minute regional news opt-out as part of a revamp of France 3's schedule to accommodate the end of prime-time advertising.

Children's shows

TV shows currently on air

Regional structure

From its historical origins, the Third Channel has utilised regional editorial and production centres which were developed since 1963 and owned by the ORTF.

The regional centres are often grouped in two levels - two half-hour news programmes and a short late night bulletin are produced and broadcast each day (in many cases, separate bulletins are produced for various parts of the region). The centres also produce shorter, more localised news bulletins for broadcast within 19|20. For example, France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie produces localised bulletins for CĂ´te d'Opalemarker, Lille MĂ©tropole and Picardiemarker. Various sport, features, current affairs and entertainment programming produced for and about the regions are also broadcast.

13 regional stations make up the network. Between them, the stations provide 24 sub-regional services, whose broadcast areas approximately match the 22 metropolitan régions of France (the exceptions being that Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azurmarker and Rhône-Alpes are sub-divided into two). Each sub-regional news service emanates from a distinct centre of production. In addition, the stations provide 42 more localised news opt-outs.

Region name Area served News regions Centres of production
1. France 3 Alsace Alsacemarker 1 Strasbourgmarker
2. France 3 Aquitaine Aquitainemarker 1 Bordeauxmarker
3. France 3 Bourgogne Franche-Comté Bourgognemarker, Franche-Comtémarker 2 Dijonmarker, Besançonmarker
4. France 3 Corse Corsicamarker 1 Ajacciomarker
5. France 3 Lorraine Champagne-Ardenne Lorrainemarker, Champagne-Ardennemarker 2 Nancymarker, Reimsmarker
6. France 3 Méditerranée Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azurmarker 2 Marseillemarker, Antibesmarker
7. France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie Nord-Pas de Calaismarker, Picardiemarker 2 Lillemarker, Amiensmarker
8. France 3 Normandie Basse-Normandiemarker, Haute-Normandiemarker 2 Caenmarker, Rouenmarker
9. France 3 Ouest Bretagne, Pays de la Loiremarker 2 Rennesmarker, Nantesmarker
10. France 3 Paris Île-de-France Centre Île-de-Francemarker (including Parismarker), Centremarker 2 Vanves, Orléansmarker
11. France 3 Limousin Poitou-Charentes Limousinmarker, Poitou-Charentesmarker 2 Limogesmarker, Poitiersmarker
12. France 3 RhĂ´ne Alpes Auvergne RhĂ´ne-Alpes, Auvergnemarker 3 Lyonmarker, Grenoblemarker, Clermont-Ferrandmarker
13. France 3 Sud Languedoc-Roussillonmarker, Midi-Pyrénéesmarker 2 Toulousemarker, Montpelliermarker

Some news reports sourced from France 3 Ouest were aired by Channel Television for the now-defunct weekly news programme Rendezvous Dimanche. In Belgiummarker, local programming from France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie has been known to receive twice the amount of viewers than in its intended coverage area.

19|20 local opt-outs

Within the main 19|20 programming block and depending on where the viewer receives France 3 via terrestrial transmitters, local opt-out bulletins (some live, some pre-recorded) concentrating on specific 'communautés' are aired. The ten-minute opts air at around 1845 CET before the main regional news.

France 3 région Sub-region Number of opt-outs Bulletins News bureaux
Alsace 21 Strasbourg Deux-Rives, Haute-Alsacemarker Strasbourgmarker, Mulhousemarker
Aquitaine 4 Pays Basque, Pau Sud-Aquitaine, PĂ©rigords, Bordeaux MĂ©tropole Bayonnemarker, Paumarker, PĂ©rigueuxmarker, Bordeauxmarker
Bourgogne Franche-Comté Bourgogne 02
Franche-Comté 02
Corse 03
Limousin Poitou-Charentes Limousin 2 Limoges, Pays de Corrèzemarker Limogesmarker, Brive-la-Gaillardemarker
Poitou-Charentes 1 Atlantique La Rochellemarker
Lorraine Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine 2 Metz, Nancy Metzmarker, Nancymarker
Champagne-Ardenne 1 Champagne Info Reimsmarker
Méditerranée Provence-Alpes 2 Marseille, Varmarker Marseillemarker, Toulonmarker
CĂ´te d'Azur 1 Nice Nicemarker
Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie Nord Pas-de-Calais 2 CĂ´te d'Opalemarker, Lille MĂ©tropole Boulogne-sur-Mermarker, Lillemarker
Picardie 04
Normandie Haute-Normandie 2 Baie-de-Seinemarker, Rouen MĂ©tropole Le Havremarker, Rouenmarker
Basse-Normandie 2 7 jours en Cotentinmarker (weekly), Caen MĂ©tropole Cherbourgmarker, Caenmarker
Ouest Pays de la Loire 2 Estuaire, Maine Nantesmarker, Le Mansmarker
Bretagne 25 Haute-Bretagne, Iroise Rennesmarker, Brestmarker
Paris ĂŽle-de-France Centre Paris ĂŽle-de-France 06
Centre 3 Orléans Loiret, Touraine Val de Loiremarker, Berry Orléansmarker, Toursmarker, Déolsmarker
Rhône-Alpes Auvergne Rhône-Alpes 2 Saint-Étienne, Grand Lyon Saint-Étiennemarker, Lyonmarker
Alpes 1 Grenoble Grenoblemarker
Auvergne 1 Clermont Soir Clermont-Ferrandmarker
Sud Midi-Pyrénées 3 Toulouse, Quercy-Rouergue, Tarnmarker Toulousemarker, Rodezmarker, Albimarker
Languedoc-Roussillon 37 Montpellier, Pays Catalan, Pays Gardois Montpelliermarker, Perpignanmarker, Nîmesmarker

  • France 3 Alsace also airs a daily bulletin in the Alsatian language (Rund um) as part of the 12|13 lunchtime news block.
  • France 3 Bourgogne Franche-ComtĂ© airs a daily pan-regional magazine show, Ça manque pas d'air, instead of local news bulletins.
  • The Soir 3 regional opt-out on France 3 Corse is in the Corsican language.
  • France 3 Picardie airs a daily pan-regional discussion show, Quoi de neuf depuis?, instead of local news bulletins.
  • France 3 Bretagne also airs a daily bulletin in the Breton language (An taol lagad) in the Iroise area as part of the 12|13 lunchtime news block.
  • France 3 Paris ĂŽle-de-France airs additional pan-regional news coverage during this timeslot.
  • France 3 Languedoc-Roussillon also airs bulletins in the Occitan language (Edicion Occitana) and Catalan language (Pais Catala) as part of 19|20 on Saturdays.



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