Darius Milhaud wrote the Suite Francaise in 1944 on commission from the publisher, Leeds Music Corporation, as part of a contemplated series of original works for band by outstanding contemporary composers. His first extended work for winds, Suite Francaise was premiered by the Goldman Band in 1945. The composer provided the following notes about the Suite:
The five parts of this suite are named after French provinces, the very ones in which the American and Allied armies fought together with the French underground for the liberation of my country – Normandy, Brittany, Ile-de-France (of which Paris is the center), Alsace-Lorraine, and Provence. I used some folk tunes of the provinces. I wanted the young Americans to hear the popular melodies of those parts of France where their fathers and brothers fought to defeat the German invaders who in less than seventy years have brought war, destruction, cruelty, torture, and murder, three times, to the peaceful and democratic people of France.