Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is credited with replacing the corseted silhouette as the feminine standard of style with a sporty, casual chic. Her work as a designer redefined the fashionable woman in the era post World War I. She also played a vital role in revolutionizing jewelry, handbags, and fragrance.
Bernard Arnault is a French businessman and chairman of the luxury-goods company LVMH. Also an art collector, Arnault played a key role in establishing LVMH as a patron of art. In 2006, he sponsored the construction of an art museum called Louis Vuitton Foundation. He also created a competition called The LVMH Young Fashion Designer to students from fine-arts schools.
Edmond James de Rothschild was a French businessman with deep connections to the Rothschild banking family. He was a strong supporter of Zionism and donated significant amounts that went towards the establishment of the State of Israel. He also provided funds for the foundation of the Friends of the French National Museum of Natural History Society.
Arpad Busson is a French financier. He is credited with founding the EIM Group, for which he also serves as the chairman. Also known for his philanthropic efforts around the world, Arpad Busson is an ardent supporter of venture philanthropy, which encourages people to operate charity organizations like any other business ventures to maximize the effectiveness of charitable pursuits.
François-Henri Pinault is a French businessman. He is credited with transforming the retail conglomerate PPR, which was founded by his father François Pinault, into the world-renowned luxury fashion group Kering. Through Groupe Artémis, for which Pinault serves as the president, his family donated $113 million to reconstruct the famous Notre-Dame de Paris.
L'Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the world’s richest woman as of 2020, made headlines when she sued her mother, trying to prove she was mentally incompetent. In spite of being born into luxury, she often ditched parties, and took to writing books on Greek mythology and religious commentaries.
10 Alain Delon
Alain Delon is a French actor, screenwriter, singer, filmmaker, and businessman. One of the most prominent actors and sex symbols in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s, Delon achieved critical acclaim for his performance in films like Rocco and His Brothers. In 1985, he was honored with the prestigious César Award for his portrayal of Robert Avranches in Our Story.
11 Henri Fayol
Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer, author, mining executive, and director of mines. He is credited with developing a theory of business administration called Fayolism. Along with Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol is credited with founding modern management methods.
After losing his parents at 10, Louis Vuitton ran away to Paris, where he gained repute as a box-maker/packer, and was even hired by Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo. He then founded the iconic French fashion and luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton, which now operates in 50 countries.
Christine Lagarde is a French politician, businessperson, and lawyer. She is the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a position she has been holding since 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first woman to head both the ECB and the IMF.
Fashion and jewelry designer Paloma Picasso is best known as the daughter of legendary artists Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. She began her career designing costume jewelry for Yves Saint-Laurent and later designed for Tiffany & Co. Known for her signature red lipstick, she also has her own range of perfumes.
20 Xavier Niel
Jean-Claude Trichet is a French economist. He was the president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011. Previously, he had been the governor of the Bank of France from 1993 to 2003 under the presidencies of François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. A much-decorated personality, he is a Commander of the Legion of Honor.
Known as the enfant terrible of the fashion world, Jean Paul Gaultier wasn’t formally trained in fashion but managed to redefine fashion with his peculiar range of clothes and perfume. He designed Madonna’s cone bra in the 1990s and used material such as corsets and tin cans in his collections.
German-French banker and the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, James Mayer de Rothschild. He took over the reins of his family banking firm after the death of his brother Nathan and headed the French Rothschild banking family. The Légion d'honneur winner later also invested in a vineyard.
25 Ned Lamont
27 Jules Rimet
29 René Lacoste
33 Jean Monnet
Son of a brandy merchant, French economist Jean Monnet is known as The Father of Europe. He was one of the first to propose a common European market, leading six countries, including France, to form the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually led to the modern-day European Union.
34 Victor Drai
38 Dom Pérignon
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.
French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.
Born in Morocco and raised in France, designer Paul Marciano is one of the co-founders of Guess and The Marciano Art Foundation. Part of a family of rabbis, he grew up in a synagogue complex and was also part of a Jewish boy scout group.
Louis Renault was a French industrialist. A pioneer of the automobile industry, Renault is remembered for co-founding the popular automobile manufacturer, Renault Group. Renault is credited with building factories that contributed immensely to the war effort during the First World War; the Renault FT tank, the first tank of modern configuration, was created and manufactured by his company.
Born to a Banque de France employee, Jacques Delors followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the bank later. Educated at the Sorbonne, he became a Socialist Party member. The former French finance minister has also served as president of the European Commission and supported the formation of the euro.
49 Marcel Bich
André Citroën was a French industrialist. He is credited with founding the popular automobile company Citroën and is best remembered for making Citroën cars. He also helped his company become the world's fourth-largest automobile manufacturer by the beginning of the 1930s. In 1998, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.