Famous 21st Century French Writers

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

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 1 Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brno

Milan Kundera is a Czech writer who became a naturalized French citizen in 1981 after going into exile in France in 1975. Although his Czechoslovak citizenship was revoked four years after going into exile, he received Czech citizenship in 2019, thanks to his achievements as a writer. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the Jerusalem Prize.

 2 Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin.
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: December 18, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bourg-en-Bresse, French Third Republic France
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 3 Lilian Thuram

Lilian Thuram.
4
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: January 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France

French former footballer Lilian Thuram, who is now a renowned author, with books on racism such as White Thinking to his credit. His 142 appearances for the French national team made him the most capped player of his country, while he was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.

 4 Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert.
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antibes, France

 5 Anna Karina

Anna Karina.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Solbjerg, Denmark
Died: December 14, 2019

Anna Karina was a Danish-French film actress, singer, and director. She often collaborated with French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard and appeared in many of his films, including My Life to Live and Bande à part. She set up her own production company in 1972 and made her directorial debut with Vivre ensemble. She was also a published author. 

 6 René Girard

René Girard.
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 25, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: November 4, 2015

René Girard was a French philosopher of social science, literary critic, and historian. Over the years, Girard's work has had an influence on disciplines like philosophy, anthropology, psychology, mythology, theology, economics, sociology, and cultural studies among other important disciplines. In 2006, René Girard was honored by the University of Tübingen with the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize.

 7 Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi.
8
Famous As: Graphic Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rasht

Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novelist, illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author, and film director. Satrapi achieved international recognition in the early-2000s after releasing her critically acclaimed graphic novels. She is best known for writing and directing an animated biographical drama film titled Persepolis, which received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes.

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 8 Mylène Farmer

Mylène Farmer
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Writer, Singer, Actor, Musician, Children's writer, Poet
Birthdate: September 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pierrefonds, Quebec

French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer is best known for her hits such as Libertine and Les Mots, and for her collaborative acts with Laurent Boutonnat. Born Mylene Jeanne Gautier, she later changed her name to Mylene Farmer in honor of Hollywood star Frances Farmer, who was her idol.

 9 Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq
9
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Pierre, Réunion

Michel Houellebecq is a French author known for his novels, essays, and poems. He also occasionally makes films. As controversial as he is popular, he has been accused of obscenity, misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia. His works generally receive positive responses and some critics consider him one of the greatest living authors today. He is a recipient of the Prix Goncourt. 

 10 Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

 11 Betsy Drake

Betsy Drake
5
Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: September 11, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 27, 2015

 12 Gabriel Matzneff

Gabriel Matzneff
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 12, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 13 Robert Clary

Robert Clary
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

 14 Mireille Mathieu

Mireille Mathieu
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avignon, France
French singer Mireille Mathieu began her career by participating in an annual singing contest in Avignon. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages in her career spanning over four decades. With more than 150 million albums sold worldwide, the chanteuse is classically known for her illustrious crooning. In 1974, she won the German "Bambi" Music Award.

 15 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 16 Olivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film critic, Writer
Birthdate: January 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris

 17 Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 17, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rabat, Morocco

 18 Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poitiers, Vienne, France
Died: August 6, 2018

 19 Bertrand Cantat

Bertrand Cantat
3
Famous As: Singer, Guitarist, Lyricist, Singer-songwriter, Poet
Birthdate: March 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pau

Former frontman of the French rock band Noir Désir, Bertrand Cantat made headlines when he beat his girlfriend actor Marie Trintignant to death in a Lithuanian hotel. His sentence of 8 years was later commuted to 4. His ex-wife Krisztina Rády later committed suicide in his presence at her home.

 20 Yasmina Reza

Yasmina Reza
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 21 Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France

 22 Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano.
3
Famous As: French Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Nobel Prize-winning French author Patrick Modiano was born in Paris, in the post-World War II era, and was introduced to literature by his geometry teacher Raymond Queneau, who was also a writer. Modiano's novels, mostly containing a fusion of autobiographical and fictional elements, depicted the impact of war on people.

 23 Judith Godrèche

Judith Godrèche
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

 24 Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Visual artist, Pianist
Birthdate: June 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Talence

Prince Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, was a skilled winemaker and a talented poet, known for his flamboyant lifestyle. He had often publicly expressed his unhappiness over not being named a king and also declared he wouldn’t want to be buried next to his wife.

 25 George Steiner

George Steiner
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Novelist, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Journalist
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris

 26 Emmanuelle Riva

Emmanuelle Riva
6
Famous As: Actor, Photographer, Poet
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheniménil
Died: January 27, 2017

 27 Jacques Vallée

Jacques Vallée
3
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France

Jacques Vallée is a French computer scientist, Internet pioneer, venture capitalist, astronomer, ufologist, and author. Vallée is credited with co-developing the first computerized map of Mars, which was used by NASA in the 1960s. An influential personality in the study of UFOs, Jacques Vallée has promoted such hypothesis as the interdimensional hypothesis.

 28 Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard
3
Famous As: Molecular biologist, Photographer, Bhikkhu, Writer, Translator
Birthdate: February 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aix-les-Bains

 29 Michel Onfray

Michel Onfray
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Argentan, France

 30 Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat
5
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bressuire,France

 31 Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic, Journalist, Writer, Cinematographer, Film actor, Actor, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: March 1, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rouen
Died: January 29, 2016

 32 Mijanou Bardot

Mijanou Bardot
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 33 Jean-Pierre Thiollet

Jean-Pierre Thiollet
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: France

 34 Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann
3
Famous As: Journalist, Writer, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 27, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bois-Colombes

 35 Éric Zemmour

Éric Zemmour
3
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: August 31, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreuil, France

 36 Anne Wiazemsky

Anne Wiazemsky
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: May 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin

 37 Florian Zeller

Florian Zeller
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France

 38 Céline Tran

Céline Tran
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lyon, France

 39 Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

 40 Lucile Hadžihalilović

Lucile Hadžihalilović
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lyon, France

 41 Raffaëla Anderson

Raffaëla Anderson
3
Famous As: Adult Film Star, Actor, Writer
Birthdate: January 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montfermeil

 42 Robert Faurisson

Robert Faurisson
3
Famous As: Essayist, Faculty, University teacher, Writer, Literary critic
Birthdate: January 25, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shepperton
Died: October 21, 2018

British-born Robert Faurisson was interested in classical languages since his early days and had taught French literature at the University of Lyon. He later gained notoriety as a chief Holocaust denier. He also raised questions on the authenticity of Holocaust victim Anne Frank’s memoir and was later banned from teaching.

 43 Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld
3
Famous As: Fashion editor
Birthdate: September 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France

 44 Suha Arafat

Suha Arafat
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 17, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

 45 Virginie Despentes

Virginie Despentes
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nancy, France

 46 J. M. G. Le Clézio

J. M. G. Le Clézio
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nice, France

Nobel Prize-winning French-Mauritian author J. M. G. Le Clézio is also a renowned academician who has taught at Nanjing University. His debut novel, Le Procès-Verbal, or The Interrogation, which he had penned at 23, won him the Prix Renaudot. His works also include short stories, children’s tales, and travel diaries.

 47 Paul Virilio

Paul Virilio
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, Architect, Urban planner, Sociologist
Birthdate: January 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris

Paul Virilio was a French cultural theorist and aesthetic philosopher. He wrote extensively on a wide range of topics, including technology, architecture, the military, cinema, history, mass media, and terrorism. He also taught intensive seminars at the European Graduate School. Physicists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont criticized him for what they characterized as his misunderstanding of science. 

 48 Gao Xingjian

Gao Xingjian
3
Famous As: Writer, Painter, Translator, Novelist, Playwright, Literary critic
Birthdate: January 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ganzhou

 49 Bernard Werber

Bernard Werber
3
Famous As: Journalist, Writer, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: September 18, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toulouse

French sci-fi author Bernard Werber is best known for his trilogy Les Fourmis, which gained international fame as The Ants. He is known for his signature style of using animals symbolically in his works. He is part of the Institute for Research on Extraordinary Experiences, and his interests include paranormal experiences.

 50 Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas
3
Famous As: Writer, Archaeologist, Novelist, Historian
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris

Fred Vargas is a French archaeologist, historian, and novelist. She is best known for her work on the bubonic plague, the Black Death. In 2009, she became the first author to win three International Dagger Awards for three consecutive novels, having won the award in 2006 and 2008. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize.