Famous 19th Century French Poets

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite French

 1 Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 9, 1821
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1867
French prose poet, essayist, and critic Charles Baudelaire was one of the first translators of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for his book of poems Les Fleurs du mal, he is believed to have coined the word modernity and was associated with the symbolist and decadent movements.

 2 Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo
8
Famous As: Novelist & Poet
Birthdate: February 26, 1802
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Besançon, France
Died: May 22, 1885

Victor Hugo was a French poet, dramatist, and novelist of the Romantic movement. Regarded as one of the best-known and greatest French writers of all time, Victor Hugo wrote abundantly during his career that spanned over six decades. Thanks to his works, such as Hernani and Cromwell, Victor Hugo was one of the leading figures of the Romantic literary movement.

 3 Jules Verne

Jules Verne
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 8, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: March 24, 1905
French author Jules Verne, also known as the “Father of Science Fiction,” is best remembered for his legendary adventure novels Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He also became the world’s second most-translated writer since 1979.
Recommended Lists:

 4 Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 20, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charleville-Mézières, France
Died: November 10, 1891

French poet Arthur Rimbaud is remembered for his influence on Dadaism, surrealism, and symbolism. Known for works such as Le Soleil Etait Encore Chaud and Voyelles, he later got involved in a relationship with poet Paul Verlaine. He also traveled as a merchant and explorer, before dying of cancer.

 5 Andre Breton

Andre Breton
4
Famous As: Founder of Surrealism
Birthdate: February 19, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tinchebray, Orne, France
Died: September 28, 1966

Born into a family of shopkeepers, French poet André Breton initially studied medicine and psychiatry. He then joined Dadaism and eventually branched out and became one of the pioneers of the surrealist movement. Known for his Surrealist Manifestos, Breton was also a collector of manuscripts, sculptures, and paintings.

 6 Paul Verlaine

Paul Verlaine
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Metz, France
Died: January 8, 1896

Paul Verlaine was a French poet best remembered for his association with the Decadent movement and the Symbolist movement. He is regarded as one of the most important representatives of the fin de siècle in French and international poetry. His poetry served as an inspiration for composers like Gabriel Fauré, who composed several mélodies based on Verlaine's poems.

 7 Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 9, 1918

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was a significant figure of the avant-garde movement. It is believed he had coined the terms Cubism, Surrealism, and Orphism. Known for his iconic poem Chanson du mal-aimé, written after being rejected by a lover, he also developed the typography-based concrete poetry in the collection Calligrammes.

You May Like

 8 Anatole France

Anatole France
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 16, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 12, 1924

Anatole France was a French poet, novelist, and journalist. Renowned for writing many best-sellers, Anatole France was one of the most respected French writers of his generation. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1921 for his brilliant literary achievements.

 9 Tristan Tzara

Tristan Tzara
4
Famous As: Art collector, Poet, Writer, Diplomat, Film director, Translator, Playwright, Essayist, Composer, Musician, Performance artist, Literary critic
Birthdate: April 16, 1896
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moineşti
Died: December 25, 1963

Tristan Tzara was a Romanian-born French avant-garde performance artist, poet, and essayist. A multi-talented personality, Tzara was also active as a playwright, journalist, art and literary critic, film director, and composer. Tristan Tzara is best remembered for co-founding the anti-establishment Dada movement, which he helped popularize. He is also credited with co-founding the Romanian literary and art magazine Simbolul.   

 10 Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé
3
Famous As: Poet, Critic
Birthdate: March 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 9, 1898

Stéphane Mallarmé was a French poet whose work inspired many artistic schools of the 20th century like Surrealism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Cubism. Over the years, his poetry has also served as an inspiration for many musical pieces, including Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Mallarmé's work also influenced Man Ray's film, Les Mystères du Château de Dé.

 11 Paul Valery

Paul Valery
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sète, France
Died: July 20, 1945

Paul Valery was a French poet, philosopher, and essayist. Thanks to his immense contribution to literature, Valery received several nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. The title of the 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film The Wind Rises was inspired by one of Paul Valery's verses. Also, his poem Palme inspired James Merrill's celebrated poem, Lost in Translation.

 12 Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service
10
Famous As: Poet & Writer
Birthdate: January 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Died: September 11, 1958

Robert W. Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer. Popularly called "the Bard of the Yukon," he wrote some of the most commercially successful poetry of his era. A bank clerk by profession, he often wrote while traveling for work. Besides poetry, he also wrote fiction and non-fiction. He was often compared to English writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling. 

 13 Charles Maurras

Charles Maurras
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 20, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Martigues, France
Died: November 16, 1952

 14 Adah Isaacs Menken

Adah Isaacs Menken
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: August 10, 1868

 15 Alfred de Musset

Alfred de Musset
3
Famous As: Dramatist, Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: December 11, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 2, 1857

French playwright and author Alfred de Musset is best remembered for his autobiographical The Confession of a Child of the Century. Though he was supposedly part of the Romantic movement, many of his works satirized the movement. He stopped allowing his plays to be staged after The Venetian Night flopped.

 16 Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 22, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 30, 1953

 17 Edmond Rostand

Edmond Rostand
3
Famous As: Playwright, Writer, Poet, Essayist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 1, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Marseille
Died: December 2, 1918

 18 Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Politician, Poet, Novelist, Art critic
Birthdate: October 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 24, 1982

 19 Gaston Bachelard

Gaston Bachelard
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Poet, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: June 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bar-sur-Aube
Died: October 16, 1962

 20 Eliphas Levi

Eliphas Levi
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 8, 1810
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 31, 1875
Alphonse Louis Constant, better known by his pseudonym, Eliphas Levi, had abandoned his wish to become a Catholic priest to become a famed magician, occultist, and author of the 19th century. He is best remembered for his iconic work Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual and his theory of magic. 

 21 Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry
3
Famous As: Playwright, Writer, Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: September 8, 1873
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laval
Died: November 1, 1907

 22 Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1870
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France
Died: July 16, 1953
British-French writer Hilaire Belloc is one of the most controversial figures of England from the 20th century, owing to the accusations of anti-semitism and marked Catholic influence in his works. Remembered for his Cautionary Tales for Children, he continued to move from place to place, thus depleting his finances.

 23 Comte de Lautréamont

Comte de Lautréamont
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1846
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay
Died: November 24, 1870

 24 Max Jacob

Max Jacob
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: March 5, 1944

 25 Paul Claudel

Paul Claudel
3
Famous As: Playwright, Poet, Diplomat, Writer, Diarist, Poet lawyer, Translator
Birthdate: August 6, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villeneuve-sur-Fère
Died: February 23, 1955

Born into a family of farmers, Paul Claudel grew up to join the foreign service of France, thus serving in places such as the US, China, and South America. While he traveled the world as a French ambassador to French ambassador, he also enriched French literature with his poems, essays, and plays.

 26 Robert de Montesquiou

Robert de Montesquiou
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 7, 1855
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 11, 1921

 27 Charles Péguy

Charles Péguy
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Orléans, France
Died: September 5, 1914

 28 Sully Prudhomme

Sully Prudhomme
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Essayist, Diarist
Birthdate: March 16, 1839
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris
Died: September 7, 1907

 29 Jean-Henri Fabre

Jean-Henri Fabre
3
Famous As: Entomologist
Birthdate: December 21, 1823
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Leons, France
Died: October 11, 1915

 30 Léon Bloy

Léon Bloy
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 11, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Notre-Dame-de-Sanilhac, Sanilhac, France
Died: November 3, 1917

 31 Émile Bernard

Émile Bernard
3
Famous As: Painter, Poet, Writer
Birthdate: April 28, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lille
Died: April 16, 1941

 32 Alfred de Vigny

Alfred de Vigny
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Loches, France
Died: September 17, 1863

Alfred de Vigny was a French poet whose poem La Maison du berger is regarded by some as the greatest 19th-century French poem. One of the leaders of French Romanticism, Vigny also wrote philosophical novels. Also regarded as a thinker, Alfred de Vigny was one of the first French poets to develop a serious interest in Buddhism.

 33 Pierre Louÿs

Pierre Louÿs
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 10, 1870
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ghent, Belgium
Died: June 6, 1925

 34 Frédéric Mistral

Frédéric Mistral
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 8, 1830
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Provence, France
Died: March 25, 1914

 35 Raymond Roussel

Raymond Roussel
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 20, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1933

 36 Stanislas de Guaita

Stanislas de Guaita
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 6, 1861
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moselle, France
Died: December 19, 1897

 37 Vernon Lee

Vernon Lee
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Died: February 13, 1935

British author Violet Page wrote under the pseudonym Vernon Lee and dressed without inhibitions. Rumors claimed she was a lesbian, though she never stated so. The poet and critic is best remembered for her work on aesthetics, Belcaro. She was also a skilled harpsichord player and a true-blue feminist.

 38 Arthur Cravan

Arthur Cravan
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: October 31, 1918

 39 Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 7, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Brieuc, France
Died: August 19, 1889

Part of the symbolist movement, French author Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam is best remembered for his drama Axël and his short story collection Cruel Tales. His works often dealt with themes of horror and sadism. He spent all his life in poverty and married his mistress on his deathbed.

 40 Philippe Henriot

Philippe Henriot
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: June 28, 1944

 41 Jules Romains

Jules Romains
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 26, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, France
Died: August 14, 1972

 42 Anna de Noailles

Anna de Noailles
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 30, 1933

 43 Louis Feuillade

Louis Feuillade
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: February 19, 1873
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lunel, France
Died: February 25, 1925

 44 Jules Laforgue

Jules Laforgue
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 16, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay
Died: August 20, 1887

 45 Zygmunt Krasiński

Zygmunt Krasiński
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 19, 1812
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 23, 1859

 46 Placide Cappeau

Placide Cappeau
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 25, 1808
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Roquemaure, France
Died: August 8, 1877

 47 Pierre-Jean de Béranger

Pierre-Jean de Béranger
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 19, 1780
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 16, 1857

 48 Alphonse Allais

Alphonse Allais
2
Famous As: Writer, Poet, Journalist, Screenwriter, Painter, Science fiction writer, Composer, Comedian
Birthdate: October 20, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Honfleur
Died: October 28, 1905

French writer Alphonse Allais, also a journalist and humorist, wrote many collections of whimsical writings. He is known for writing the earliest example of a completely silent musical composition. The small house where he was born was later turned into a museum named Alphonse Allais Museum. The Académie Alphonse-Allais has been awarding an annual prize in his honor since 1954.

 49 Aloysius Bertrand

Aloysius Bertrand
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 20, 1807
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ceva, Italy
Died: April 29, 1841

 50 Francis Ponge

Francis Ponge
2
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: March 27, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: August 6, 1988