From 1992 to 2004, various external and internal pressures forced the French government, state and people to reflect on and debate the position held by the French language and regional languages in their society, as well as the way that they see themselves from a politico-linguistic perspective. Whilst this debate did not produce any finality, there is a state-level realpolitik which steadily defined itself during this period. The conflicts between opposing forces in the French language policy debate led to covert contradictions between France’s external and internal language policy: where the first essentially proposed plurilingualism in defence of diversity and the latter diversity in defence of monolingualism. These contradictory covert political practices were based on conflicting strategies that were inter-related, and were ultimately aimed at maintaining and promoting the position of French in France and in the world. This is an examination of the French state’s reaction to the changing context in relation to language diversity in the national and international arenas, and an analysis of how this is reflected in the regions of France.