Top 15 French historical figures

Ha France. We know it for its beautiful landscapes, the Eiffel Tower, the wines, French gastronomy of course, but also for its history, its culture and its influence in the world. Suddenly there are some historical personalities who stand out and really enjoy an extraordinary aura. Here are which ones.

1. Napoleon Bonaparte

Yes, of course the guy has invaded half of the countries of Europe, that kind of thing makes an impression.

2. Joan of Arc

Lorraine burned in Rouen, inventor of the wireless telephone, saint among the saints and Brienne-style fighter in game of thrones, the story is significant enough to be remembered by all, apparently. We cannot be too surprised.

3. Rene Descartes

I think so I am. I’m thinking of Descartes, therefore I am, but I’m also potentially not French, I’m potentially from anywhere, because I think therefore I am, it’s still obviously ultra-known. At the same time, a guy capable of establishing such a tautology for centuries on end is well worth a third place in the ranking.

4. Voltaire

Between his philosophical tales and his theoretical contribution to the Revolution, the guy has perhaps the best-known pseudonym in history. Not bad for a guy who only wanted to cultivate his cushy garden and send jokes to Rousseau. And then if you fall on the ground, it’s always Voltaire’s fault.

5. Blaise Pascal

His thoughts, like his inventions, have made history. The guy has moreover had a mystical revelation and is now on track to be beatified. It gives him a nice leg, you will tell me, but there is enough to be satisfied with being better known than Pascal the big brother. Comfortable, Blaise.

Top 15 french historical figures
Photo credits (CC BY 3.0): anonymous; a copy of a painting by François II Quesnel; engraved by Gérard Edelinck in 1691.

6. Louis XIV

The greatest king of France, the sun king, “the State is me”, Versailles, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and all the rest. Louis XIV worked so hard throughout his life to keep his memory alive for centuries that it would almost have been heartbreaking not to see him in the rankings. Royally played.

7. Victor Hugo

At the same time, when one completely crosses a tormented century by changing tack, by publishing sometimes polemical plays, sometimes long-running serialized novels, by sitting in the Assembly, by dealing with politics, by going into exile sometimes voluntarily to finally have a state funeral, we deserve a minimum of recognition. All of Victor Hugo’s quotes make you want to read it, love it and have a child with it.

8. Moliere

Did you know ? Molière’s favorite song was die on stage, by Dalida. Anachronism apart, Fourberies and other tamed shrews remain classics of theater troupes, both in end-of-year shows and at the Comédie Française. Our Shakespeare, and knock!

9. Claude Monet

When you see the number of tourists who arrive in Giverny each year, you are hardly surprised at the recognition enjoyed by Claude Monet, the leader of the Impressionists, embodying a certain idea of ​​the Belle Époque all over the world. It was a good time.

10. Louis Pasteur

A guy who managed to settle once and for all an epidemic that prevented everyone from petting dogs deserves his place in the Hall of Fame. He was not far from being there, having been buried for a time in the vault of Notre-Dame.


A king who did not invent the school but who was a hell of a warrior, it’s simple he was at war all the time, maybe that’s why he was considered a king of the violent middle ages and that he is still as well known today.

12. Marie Antoinette

Marie-Antoinette embodies that French je-ne-sais-quoi that Parisian women are supposed to represent today. Nonchalant, but also classy and distinguished, she eats thousands of Ladurée macaroons and strawberry tarts at Versailles. We want to kill her but we envy her a little too. She has this little thing that makes you tense, this je-ne-sais-quoi that makes her annoying. This may explain the guillotine.

13. Coco Chanel

Chanel Number five, coco chanel, black, white, moccasins, Vanessa Paradis, Lily Depp, Marion Cotillard, Marina Vatch, who exported France better than this famous fashion designer?

14. Zinedine Zidane

Can you tell me who is world champion already? Ah yes, it’s us, thanks to Zizou in 1998 and our great French team in 2018. Every night I re-watch the best World Cup goals before falling asleep.

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