Preserving french accents in RMarkdown knit

I want to preserve the French accents in my knit rmarkdown HTML- is there a way to specify language as such? -

title: "GW Analyses- Tchad, Secondary analyses"
author: "Grace Heymsfield"
date: "12/8/2021"
lang: fr
output: html_document

Cut and paste the example below and save it as fr.html. If it doesn't knit correctly use the RStudio menu File | Reopen with encoding and select UTF-8

title: "Les défenses vaccinales"
author: "Richard Careaga"
date: "12/9/2021"
output: html_document

```{r setup, include=FALSE}
knitr::opts_chunk$set(echo = TRUE)

Les premières données expérimentales, dont celles du pionnier des vaccins à ARN messager BioNTech, montrent que deux doses devraient être insuffisantes pour contrer l’infection. Les résultats sont plus encourageants avec trois doses.

What is not working exactly ? Do you have an example were you are loosing accents ?

File should be in UTF-8 and accents are supported.

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