Famous French Activists

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 Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Marion Cotillard delivered an Academy Award-winning performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, becoming the first to win the award for a French-language film. She was appreciated for her iconic role of Joan of Arc on stage. She has promoted Lady Dior bags and Chanel No. 5 fragrance.

 2 Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo
4
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.

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 3 Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot
5
Famous As: Actress, Activist
Birthdate: September 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Brigitte Bardot is a French former singer and actress. One of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, Bardot remains a major pop culture icon despite quitting the entertainment industry in 1973. Bardot is credited with popularizing the bikini. She also popularized the town of Armação dos Búzios and the city of St. Tropez in Brazil.

 4 Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poitiers, France
Died: June 25, 1984

If others thought the body was the prison of the soul, Paul-Michel Foucault felt the other way round. The French philosopher, literary critic and Leftist who interpreted the link between power and knowledge, was a post-structuralist whose theories have left a mark on anthropology, psychology and criminology. The feminist was one of the noted personalities to have died of HIV/AIDS.

 5 Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker
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Famous As: Entertainer
Birthdate: June 3, 1906
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: April 12, 1975
Nicknamed Black Pearl and Creole Goddess, Josephine Baker was the first Black woman to appear in a motion picture. She was a revue dancer, famous for her signature banana costume. A civil rights activist, she helped the French military during World War II. She adopted 12 children of different ethnicities.

 6 Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 21, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 15, 1980

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, writer, literary critic, and political activist. One of the most important personalities in the philosophy of phenomenology and existentialism, Sartre played a crucial role in 20th-century French philosophy. His work continues to influence literary studies, post-colonial theory, sociology, and critical theory. He was honored with the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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 7 Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.
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 8 Jean-Paul Marat

Jean-Paul Marat
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boudry, Switzerland
Died: July 13, 1793

French political theorist, scientist, and physician Jean-Paul Marat was a key figure of the French Revolution. He published his radical views in pamphlets and newspapers, such as L'Ami du people. He was held responsible for the September massacres. His assassination by a Girondin supporter made him a Jacobin martyr.

 9 Simone Weil

Simone Weil
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 3, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 24, 1943
Paris-born philosopher and activist Simone Weil could speak in Sanskrit and Greek as a student. Called The Martian by her classmates, due to her peculiar nature, she died of cardiac failure at 34, refusing to eat more than the people of German-occupied France, in spite of being diagnosed with tuberculosis. 

 10 Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 7, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montauban, France
Died: November 3, 1793

Olympe de Gouges was an 18th-century French playwright and political activist. Her writings on women's rights and abolitionism were popular in various countries. She was an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies. She demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. She was executed during the Reign of Terror.

 11 Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: La Trinité-sur-Mer, France

 12 Marquis de Condorcet

Marquis de Condorcet
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 17, 1743
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ribemont, France
Died: March 28, 1794

French mathematician and philosopher Marquis de Condorcet was a champion for liberal economy and women’s rights. He was a significant contributor of the Encyclopédie and was part of the Academy of Sciences. He is also remembered for his political activities in the wake of the French Revolution.

 13 Savitri Devi

Savitri Devi
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Famous As: Writer, Poet
Birthdate: September 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 22, 1982

Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

 14 Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France

 15 Charles-Michel de l'Épée

Charles-Michel de l'Épée
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: November 24, 1712
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Versailles, Yvelines, France
Died: December 23, 1789

Eighteenth-century philanthropic educator Charles-Michel de l'Épée is regarded as the Father of the Deaf for pioneering the education of the deaf and dumb. He laid down the Signed French system, which enabled the deaf to participate in legal proceedings. His French Sign Language laid the path to the American Sign Language.

 16 Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel Cousteau
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Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: May 6, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Toulon

 17 Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.

 18 Delphine Seyrig

Delphine Seyrig
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 10, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon
Died: October 15, 1990

 19 Daniel Defert

Daniel Defert
3
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: September 10, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Avallon, France

 20 Héloïse

Héloïse
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Famous As: French nun
Birthdate: 1101 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 16, 1164
French nun Héloïse was also a philosopher, writer, and abbess and was a renowned "woman of letters". She was noted as a  philosopher of love and friendship. In 1147, she was granted the rank of prelate nullius, approximately the level of a bishop. Her surviving letters are considered a foundation of French and European literature and inspiration for courtly love.

 21 Madame Roland

Madame Roland
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Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: March 17, 1754
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 8, 1793

The wife of Jean-Marie Roland, Madame Roland was a leading French revolutionary and often hosted significant political meets at her salon. She often directed her husband’s political actions and was responsible for creating a rift between the Jacobin and Girondin factions. She was later arrested and guillotined.

 22 Marlene Schiappa

Marlene Schiappa
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 18, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France

 23 Marina Picasso

Marina Picasso
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Famous As: Humanitarian
Birthdate: November 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: France

 24 Benjamin Constant

Benjamin Constant
2
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: December 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: December 8, 1830

 25 Alexandra Cousteau

Alexandra Cousteau
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles County, California, United States

 26 Charles Joseph Bonaparte

Charles Joseph Bonaparte
2
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: June 9, 1851
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: June 28, 1921

The grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Joseph Bonaparte was a French-American lawyer and political activist, born and raised in Baltimore. Founder of Baltimore Reform League, his works attracted Theodore Roosevelt’s admiration and serving as U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General during the latter’s tenure as President, he established Bureau of Investigation, later Day FBI, prosecuting many antitrust suits.

 27 Pauline Harmange

Pauline Harmange
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1995 AD
Birthplace: France

 28 Beate Klarsfeld

Beate Klarsfeld
2
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: February 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Nazi Germany

 29 Serge Klarsfeld

Serge Klarsfeld
2
Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: September 17, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania

 30 Coccinelle

Coccinelle
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 23, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 9, 2006

 31 Margaret of Valois-Angouleme

Margaret of Valois-Angouleme
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 11, 1492
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Angoulême, France
Died: December 21, 1549

Margaret of Valois-Angouleme, the wife of Henry II of Navarre, was a significant figure of the French Renaissance, and is also regarded as The First Modern Woman. She patronized artists and was herself an author, with several short stories and a religious poem to her credit.

 32 Monique Wittig

Monique Wittig
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dannemarie, France
Died: January 3, 2003

 33 Danielle Mitterrand

Danielle Mitterrand
2
Famous As: François Mitterrand's wife
Birthdate: October 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Verdun, Meuse, France
Died: November 22, 2011

 34 Celine Cousteau

Celine Cousteau
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: June 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles County, California, United States

 35 Flora Tristan

Flora Tristan
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 7, 1803
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: November 14, 1844

 36 Annie Belle

Annie Belle
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 10, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

 37 Lucien Sève

Lucien Sève
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 9, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chambéry, France
Died: March 23, 2020

 38 Frederique Bel

Frederique Bel
2
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: March 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Annecy, France

 39 Line Renaud

Line Renaud
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nieppe, France

 40 Frédéric Passy

Frédéric Passy
2
Famous As: Economist & Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Birthdate: May 20, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris
Died: June 12, 1912

Frédéric Passy was a French pacifist and economist. He is credited with co-founding the Inter-Parliamentary Union as well as many peace societies, such as the Société Française pour l'Arbitrage entre Nations. He is best known for his involvement in the European peace movement, for which he received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. 

 41 Frédéric Ozanam

Frédéric Ozanam
2
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: April 23, 1813
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: September 8, 1853

Frédéric Ozanam was a French lawyer, literary scholar, equal rights advocate, and journalist. He is credited with co-founding the Conference of Charity, which came to be known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. in 1997, Frédéric Ozanam was beatified at Notre Dame de Paris by Pope John Paul II and his feast day is observed on 9 September.

 42 Jacline Mouraud

Jacline Mouraud
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 24, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Guérande, France

 43 Celine Bara

Celine Bara
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Antony, France

 44 Rama Yade

Rama Yade
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ouakam, Dakar, Senegal

 45 Inessa Armand

Inessa Armand
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 8, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 24, 1920

 46 Judy Minx

Judy Minx
2
Famous As: Adult film star
Birthdate: January 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France

 47 David Diop

David Diop
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: August 29, 1960

 48 Christophe Jaffrelot

Christophe Jaffrelot
2
Famous As: Political scientist
Birthdate: February 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Poissy, France

 49 Sylvain Tesson

Sylvain Tesson
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 50 Henri Grégoire

Henri Grégoire
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Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: December 4, 1750
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vého, France
Died: May 28, 1831

Henri Grégoire, or Abbé Grégoire, was not just a Catholic priest but also a revolutionary. He first gained prominence with his Essay on the Regeneration of the Jews. A radical Jacobin, he was the first priest of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and also presided over the National Convention.