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République Libre du Frioul (Marseilles, France)

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[RLF flag]by Ivan Sache

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Presentation of the République Libre du Frioul

The République Libre du Frioul is a strange entity: the flag is really flown, the name of the entity is patented, the place exists but the entity has no borders... It is not a commercial entity like Seborga but a cultural / artistic project.

The archipelago of Frioul is located off Marseilles (twenty minutes by boat). It is made of the three islands of If, Pomègues and Ratonneau, which were split from mainland during the so-called Flandrian transgression.
The smallest island, If, is famous for its fortress, popularized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo.
Pomègues and Ratonneau were in the past covered with forests and Louis XIV used them as a royal game preserve. The two islands are linked by a dam built in the early XIXth century. They lock and protect the roadsted of Marseilles. They have always been used for military and sanitary purposes. The Admiralty untimbered them to build vessels. The soil was carried away by erosion from the white limestone rocks, and a meager vegeation still survives in the rock cracks. In the 1970s, the municipality of Marseilles planned to create a new residential ward on the islands. Fortunately, the building program was only partially realized. There are now less than one hundred of permanent inhabitants on the islands. A dozen of restaurants located in Port-Frioul live mainly from summer tourism, but most visitors prefer to go to If.

The plastician Jean-Claude Mayo was born in 1945 in Tananarive (now Antananarivo, in Madagascar) from Reunionese origin. He lives now in Marseilles. He produces traditional loft works but also monumental scenographies (e.g. Symbiosis for a vulcano and birds, a group of 12 6-meter high giants which were established on the flank of the Piton de la Fournaise on Réunion island just before an eruption). His main goal is "to give the reality the apparence of our dreams".
In 1989, he needed a new creation place. With his wife Nadine, he bought the fortress of Brégantin (First Empire) on the island of Ratonneau. He tried to transform this stone of the roadsted of Marseille into "a pearl onto the world's navel" and the République Libre du Frioul was born, as an evolutive, random conceptual work based on a "totally libertarian concept".

République Libre du Frioul should be written with a mirorred R, the first E in République and the E in Libre as a Greek epsilon, the last E in République as a mirorred Greek epsilon, and the O of Frioul filled with the sun that appears on the flag.

This jovial and conquerring state has a President appointed ad vitam aeternam (for ever): Egrégore Le Virtuel, and J.C. Mayo is Convoying-Minister of the Word. Everyone can apply for a Ministery by sending a letter to Egrégore Le Virtuel. There are already Ministers of the Rings, of the Associated Pleasures, of Fine Words etc.. Each application letter shall be read during the Council of Ministers (about 400 members) and the answer shall be "Yes". There are already embassies in Paris, Canada, Brazil, Belgium and Germany.

The only definitive rule of the Republic is that there is no rule.There are no territorial revendication since the Republic has no limits but the imagination of its ministers.
The Republic organizes cultural and artistic events on the islands (e.g. the Night of the Tales).


Ivan Sache, 6 January 2001

Flag of the République Libre du Frioul

The flag of the République Libre du Frioul is a blue decentered cross on a white field, charged with a yellow sun. It evidently refers to the flag of Marseilles but the cross is decentered and the blue is more saturated (the shade of the sea when the mistral wind is blowing, close to the International Klein Blue patented by the painter Yves Klein).

The image shown above was made after the document shown in the review of the Regional Councilw, with the sun extending beyond the arms of the cross arms. The real flags shown on the website of the Republic seem to have a simplified sun enclosed in the square made by the intersection of the arms of the cross.

Ivan Sache, 6 January 2001

Other symbols of the République Libre du Frioul

The motto of the Republic is "Un seul soleil, chacun son ombre" (A single sun, a shadow for everyone).
The emblem is a bird in perpetual invention, the "grand gouillon". ("Grand couillon!" is a traditional way to say "You, stupid!" in Marseilles and other southern areas of France.)
The Republic has a "polycurrency" soon to be convertible in euros, without a defined unit.

Ivan Sache, 6 January 2001

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