French Criminals

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Rank the Most Wicked French Criminals
 1 
Gilles de Rais
(15th Century French Serial Killer of Children)
Gilles de Rais
12
Birthdate: 1404 AD
Birthplace: Champtocé-sur-Loire, France
Died: October 26, 1440

Gilles de Rais was a French lord and knight who served as a leader in the French army. Rais' achievements as a military man are often overshadowed by the fact that he was convicted of killing several children. A confessed serial killer, Gilles de Rais was sentenced to death and hanged on 26 October 1440.

 2 
Man in the Iron Mask
(Unidentified Prisoner of State Arrested Under the Name 'Eustache Dauger' During Louis XIV of France's Reign)
Man in the Iron Mask
0
Birthdate: 1640 AD
Died: November 19, 1703

The Man in the Iron Mask was a prisoner of state whose identity remains unknown. Arrested in 1669 and jailed for 34 years during Louis XIV of France's reign, the Man in the Iron Mask is best remembered for maintaining his anonymity throughout his time in prison. He has been the subject of numerous works of fiction.

 3 
Jean Lafitte
(French Pirate Who Helped the US Forces Defend New Orleans against the British in 'Battle of New Orleans')
Jean Lafitte
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1780
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Biarritz, France
Died: 1823 AD

French pirate Jean Lafitte, or The Terror of the Gulf, along with his brother Pierre, owned a blacksmith shop in New Orleans that served as a hub for smuggled goods. He helped the US army in defending New Orleans against the British forces during the War of 1812.

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 4 
Marcel Petiot
(French Medical Doctor and Serial Killer Who Was Convicted of Multiple Murders)
Marcel Petiot
9
Birthdate: January 17, 1897
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Auxerre, France
Died: May 25, 1946

While he was diagnosed with mental illness as a child, French physician Marcel Petiot or Doctor Satan, allegedly killed almost 60 people later. He targeted Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied France, injected them with poison, stole their belongings, and hid their bodies in his basement. He was guillotined for his crimes.

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 5 
Marguerite Alibert
(French Socialite Who Became a Royal Courtesan)
Marguerite Alibert
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 2, 1971

Born to working-class parents, Marguerite Alibert initially sang at local bars and worked as a prostitute. She later became Prince Edward’s (later King Edward VIII of the UK) courtesan. She shot her second husband, Ali Fahmy, to death at Savoy Hotel but got away by showcasing herself as a victim of brutality.

 6 
Robert-François Damiens
(French Criminal Whose Failed Attempt to Assassinate King Louis XV Resulted in His Public Execution)
Robert-François Damiens
2
Birthdate: January 9, 1715
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Thieuloye, Artois, France
Died: March 28, 1757

Robert-François Damiens was a French domestic servant best remembered for his failed attempt to kill King Louis XV in 1757. Although the king was only slightly wounded, Damiens was sentenced to death. He was executed in public and was the last person in France to be executed by dismemberment.

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 7 
Jacques Mesrine
(French Murderer, Burglar and Kidnapper)
Jacques Mesrine
3
Birthdate: December 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Clichy, France
Died: November 2, 1979

Jacques Mesrine was a French criminal who carried out numerous burglaries, bank robberies, and kidnappings in the US, France, and Canada. He also killed many people and escaped repeatedly from prison, which earned him notoriety. Nicknamed The Man of a Thousand Faces, Jacques Mesrine was an expert in hiding his true identity. His life inspired a two-part film titled Mesrine.

 8 
Madame de Brinvilliers
(French Aristocrat Who Was Sentenced to Death On Being Accused of Killing Her Father & Brothers)
Madame de Brinvilliers
2
Birthdate: July 22, 1630
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 16, 1676

Madame de Brinvilliers was a French aristocrat who was sentenced to death by the French government after being accused of killing her father and brothers to inherit their estates. Speculated of having poisoned more than 30 sick people in order to test out her poisons, Madame de Brinvilliers' life, killings, and execution inspired many works of art.

 9 
Jeanne de Clisson
(A French Noblewomen Who Turned into a Merciless Pirate after Her Husband's Execution)
Jeanne de Clisson
0
Birthdate: 1300 AD
Birthplace: Belleville-sur-Vie, Bellevigny, France
Died: 1359 AD

Known as the Lioness of Brittany, Jeanne de Clisson was born a noblewoman of France but later turned into a pirate. After her third husband, Olivier IV de Clisson, was executed for treason, she unleashed her terror upon the French royalty by killing the crew of French ships mercilessly.

 10 
Françoise Dior
(A Prominent Neo-Nazi Figure and Niece of Fashion Designer Christian Dior)
Françoise Dior
1
Birthdate: April 7, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 20, 1993

French socialite Françoise Dior was the niece of world-renowned designer Christian Dior. However, the heiress later became a Nazi sympathizer and married neo-Nazi figure and Holocaust denier Colin Jordan. She was associated with the National Socialist Movement but eventually lost most of her fortune and died in oblivion.

 11 
Olivier Levasseur
(French Pirate Who Left Behind a Cryptogram as a Path to Access His Treasure)
Olivier Levasseur
0
Birthdate: 1689 AD
Birthplace: Calais, France
Died: July 7, 1730

Known as La Buse, or the Buzzard, because of his speed of attacking his opponents, French pirate Olivier Levasseur was surprisingly born into an affluent family and was trained as an architect. He apparently threw a cryptogram toward the crowd, while being hanged, and challenged them to access his loot.

 12 
Marie Lafarge
(First French Person to be Publicly Convicted Based on Direct Forensic Toxicological Evidence for Murdering Her Husband)
Marie Lafarge
0
Birthdate: January 15, 1816
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 7, 1852
 13 
Claude Duval
(French Highwayman Whose Life Has Inspired Novels, Dramas & Operas)
Claude Duval
2
Birthdate: 1643 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: January 21, 1670

Claude Duval was a French highwayman who is often associated with a popular legend, according to which, he abhorred violence. He is also depicted as someone who was courteous to his victims and famous among women, making him an ideal choice for artists and writers. Claude Duval's life has inspired novels, dramas, and operas.

 14 
Omar Ismaël Mostefaï
(French Terrorist Who Carried Out 'The November 2015 Paris Attacks')
Omar Ismaël Mostefaï
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Courcouronnes, Évry-Courcouronnes, France
Died: November 14, 2015

Omar Ismaël Mostefaï was a French terrorist of Algerian descent. He was part of the Brussels Islamic State terror cell, a group of terrorists accused of organizing large-scale terrorist attacks in 2015 in Paris and in 2016 in Brussels.

 15 
Patrice Alègre
(French Serial Killer & Rapist)
Patrice Alègre
5
Birthdate: June 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toulouse, France

Patrice Alègre is a French serial killer who raped and killed his victims. In 2002, he was convicted of six rapes, five murders, and an attempted murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Patrice Alègre's abusive childhood is said to be one of the reasons behind his sex-related crimes later in his life.

 16 
Martin Guerre
(16th Century French Peasant Who Was at the Center of a Strange Case of Imposture)
Martin Guerre
0
Birthdate: 1524 AD
Birthplace: Hendaye, France
Died: 1560 AD

A 16th-century French peasant, Martin Guerre disappeared, leaving his family and village, while an imposter claiming to be Guerre came back to his village and stayed with his family for 3 years. The imposter was later tried for fraud, while the real Guerre returned. The tale inspired many novels, musicals, and films.

 17 
Ghislaine Maxwell
(Socialite, Sex offender)
Ghislaine Maxwell
76
Birthdate: December 25, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Maisons-Laffitte, France

Daughter of publishing tycoon, late Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell is a socialite infamous for her involvement with the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Charged with sex trafficking of minor girls, she is under investigation by the US Virgin Islands Department of Justice.

 18 
Charles Sobhraj
(French Serial Killer, Fraudster, and Thief)
Charles Sobhraj
81
Birthdate: April 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Charles Sobhraj, better known as the “Bikini Killer” and “The Serpent,” is an infamous criminal who was convicted of murdering twelve tourists in Southeast Asia in the 1970s, purely out of his hatred for hippies. After serving jail time in India, he is now serving a life sentence in Nepal.
 19 
Henri Charrière
(French Memoirist, Convicted As a Murderer, Known for His Autobiographical Books ‘Papillon’ and ‘Banco’)
Henri Charrière
6
Birthdate: November 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Étienne-de-Lugdarès, France
Died: July 29, 1973
 20 
Léa Papin
(French Maid Who Killed the Wife and Daughter of Her Employer)
Léa Papin
5
Birthdate: September 15, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: French
Died: July 24, 2001

Known for committing one of the bloodiest murders in France, French maid Léa Papin, along with her sister, Christine Papin, also inspired discussions on class struggle. They killed Léonie and Geneviève Lancelin, the wife and daughter of their employer, who would often ill-treat the 2 sisters.

 21 
Marie-Josephte Corriveau
(Murderer and Well-known Figure in Québécois Folklore)
Marie-Josephte Corriveau
0
Birthdate: 1733 AD
Birthplace: Saint-Vallier, Canada
Died: April 18, 1763
Marie-Josephte Corriveau was a murderer and well-known personality in Québécois folklore. She was sentenced to death in 1763 for the murder of her husband and was hanged on April 18, 1763. Her life and career inspired several works of art, including novels, ballet, and plays.  
 22 
Frédéric Bourdin
(French Serial Impostor Nicknamed 'The Chameleon')
Frédéric Bourdin
2
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nanterre, Hauts-de-Seine, France

Frédéric Bourdin is a French impostor who claims to have assumed 500 false identities. Nicknamed The Chameleon by the press, Bourdin has impersonated at least three missing teenagers among other people and has been jailed on multiple occasions. His life inspired a 2010 drama film titled The Chameleon. His impersonation of a missing teenager inspired a documentary titled The Imposter.

 23 
Christine Papin
(Maid Who Along with Her Sister Committed One of the Greatest Murders in French History)
Christine Papin
7
Birthdate: March 8, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: France
Died: May 18, 1937
 24 
Zacarias Moussaoui
(French Al-Qaeda Member and the Only Person Convicted for the 9/11 Attacks)
Zacarias Moussaoui
8
Birthdate: May 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France

Known as the “20th hijacker” of the 9/11 terror attacks, Zacarias Moussaoui is a French al-Qaeda member who has previously lived in England and is equipped with a business degree. The only person to be convicted in a U.S. court for the September 11 attacks, he is now serving life in prison.

 25 
Luigi Lucheni
(Italian Anarchist Who Assassinated Empress Elisabeth of Austria)
Luigi Lucheni
1
Birthdate: April 22, 1873
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 19, 1910

Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni was initially part of the Italian army. He later became determined to kill a member of the elite class and zeroed in on Empress Elisabeth of Austria. He stabbed Elisabeth with a file and was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was eventually found hanged in his cell.

 26 
Hayat Boumeddiene
(Suspected Accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly, the Main Suspect in the Montrouge Shooting)
Hayat Boumeddiene
0
Birthdate: June 26, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Villiers-sur-Marne, France

Hayat Boumeddiene is a French woman who is currently being sought by the police as a suspected abettor of Amedy Coulibaly, the main suspect in the Montrouge shooting, which resulted in the death of a policeman. Boumeddiene, who absconded in 2015, was convicted in absentia of financing terrorism by a court in 2020 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

 27 
La Voisin
(French Fortune Teller, Sorceress and Head of the Organization that Carried Out Mass Murders Under 'Affaire des poisons')
La Voisin
0
Birthdate: 1640 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: February 22, 1680

French sorceress and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin, also known as La Voisin, mostly catered to clients from the French elite class. She provided poison to help her clients kill their enemies and almost succeeded in killing King Louis XIV of France on the orders of Madame de Montespan.

 28 
Albert Spaggiari
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Laragne-Montéglin, Hautes-Alpes, France
Died: June 8, 1989

Albert Spaggiari was a French criminal best remembered for organizing an infamous break-in into the Société Générale bank in July 1976 in France. Spaggiari remained free after evading arrest during his case hearings. Albert Spaggiari remains a popular figure and has been referenced in many films, such as The Great Riviera Bank Robbery and Les égouts du paradis.

 29 
Salah Abdeslam
(French Terrorist Who Carried Out 'The November 2015 Paris Attacks')
Salah Abdeslam
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

Salah Abdeslam is a French terrorist who carried out the November 2015 Paris attacks. He is the only surviving terrorist of the 10-man unit that executed the attacks, which killed 130 people and injured more than 490 people. Salah Abdeslam was found guilty on five counts, including murder and terrorism, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2022.

 30 
Eugène François Vidocq
(French Criminal Turned Criminalist - Regarded as the 'First Private Detective')
Eugène François Vidocq
1
Birthdate: July 24, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: May 11, 1857

Starting his career with the army, French criminal Eugène François Vidocq fought in the battles of Valmy and Jemappes. Often jailed for petty offenses, he later used his expertise of being among thieves to form his own police force, or the police de sûreté, inspiring authors such as Victor Hugo.

 31 
Eugen Weidmann
(German Serial Killer Who Was the Last Person to be Executed Publicly in France)
Eugen Weidmann
7
Birthdate: February 5, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: June 17, 1939

Eugen Weidmann was a German serial killer best remembered as the last person to be executed publicly in France; he was executed by guillotine in June 1939. Many people, including the then 17-year-old actor Christopher Lee, witnessed the execution. The spectators' hysterical behavior after watching the execution was so scandalous that all future public executions were banned in France.

 32 
Henri Désiré Landru
(French Serial Killer)
Henri Désiré Landru
6
Birthdate: April 12, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris
Died: February 25, 1922

Henri Désiré Landru was a French serial killer who killed at least seven women between 1915 and 1919. Nicknamed the Bluebeard of Gambais, Landru also murdered at least three women and a man between 1914 and 1915 at a house he rented in the town of Vernouillet. Landru was arrested in 1919 and was executed by guillotine in 1922.

 33 
Michel Fourniret
(French Serial Killer)
Michel Fourniret
7
Birthdate: April 4, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sedan, France

Michel Fourniret was a French serial killer who killed at least 12 people between 1987 and 2003. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and his wife Monique Pierrette Olivier, who assisted him in his killings, was sentenced to 48 years of imprisonment. Michel Fourniret died on 10 May 2021 at the age of 79.

 34 
Rédoine Faïd
(French Serial Jailbreaker and Gangster)
Rédoine Faïd
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Creil, France

Rédoine Faïd is a French serial jailbreaker and gangster. He gained notoriety in the mid-1990s when he led a criminal gang and engaged in activities like armed robbery, extortion, and jewel theft. By 2013, he was regarded as the most wanted criminal in France. Rédoine Faïd is also renowned for his prison escapes. 

 35 
Guy Georges
(French Serial Rapist and Killer)
Guy Georges
14
Birthdate: October 15, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vitry-le-François, France

Known as the Beast of the Bastille, French serial killer and rapist Guy Georges grew up in the social care system and was a troubled youth. He was later convicted of raping and killing 7 women, while he also assaulted at least 13 more women. He was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.

 36 
Giuseppe Marco Fieschi
(Main Conspirator in an Attempted Murder of King Louis-Philippe of France)
Giuseppe Marco Fieschi
0
Birthdate: December 13, 1790
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bocognano, France
Died: February 19, 1836

Giuseppe Marco Fieschi was a French man best remembered as the main conspirator in an attempted murder of King Louis-Philippe of France in 1835. Although the attack on Louis Philippe I and his entourage killed 18 people, the king escaped with a minor wound and Giuseppe Marco Fieschi was quickly captured. He was subsequently tried and executed.

 37 
Jacques Plumain
(French Serial Killer)
Jacques Plumain
0
Birthdate: August 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guadeloupe

Jacques Plumain is a French serial killer who murdered at least two women in France and Germany between 1999 and 2001. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005. He served 15 years of his sentence before his release in January 2021. The murders inspired a couple of TV documentaries.

 38 
Chérif Kouachi
(French Terrorist Who Carried Out 'The Charlie Hebdo Shooting' in 2015)
Chérif Kouachi
1
Birthdate: November 29, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 9, 2015

Chérif Kouachi was a French terrorist who carried out the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris on 7 January 2015. Armed with rifles and various other weapons, Chérif and his brother Saïd Kouachi barged their way into the office of a weekly newspaper called Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people. Chérif Kouachi and his brother were killed on 9 January. 

 39 
Thierry Paulin
(French Serial Killer Who Murdered 21 Elderly Women During the 1980s.)
Thierry Paulin
6
Birthdate: November 28, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fort-de-France, Martinique
Died: April 16, 1989

Thierry Paulin was a French serial killer who murdered 21 elderly women during the 1980s. The motive behind these murders was robbery. Paulin died before his trial due to complications related to AIDS. His life and killings inspired a 1994 movie titled I Can't Sleep.

 40 
Volker Eckert
(German Serial Killer)
Volker Eckert
7
Birthdate: July 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plauen, Germany
Died: July 2, 2007

Volker Eckert was a German serial killer who murdered at least six women in Spain, France, and East Germany between 1974 and 2006. Although he confessed to only six murders, Eckert is believed to have murdered many other women in countries like the Czech Republic and Italy. He committed suicide on July 2, 2007, during his criminal proceedings.

 41 
Saïd Kouachi
(French Terrorist Who Carried Out 'The Charlie Hebdo Shooting' in 2015)
Saïd Kouachi
1
Birthdate: September 7, 1980
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 9, 2015

Saïd Kouachi was a French terrorist who, along with his brother Chérif, barged his way into the office of a weekly newspaper in Paris and killed 12 people on 7 January 2015. Armed with rifles and various other weapons, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi identified themselves as Al-Qaeda terrorists. Saïd and his brother were killed on 9 January. 

 42 
Veronique Courjault
(French Woman Who Killed Three of Her Newborn Babies)
Veronique Courjault
7
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France

Veronique Courjault is a French woman and murderer who killed three of her newborn babies. As it turned out, her husband didn't know about her pregnancies as she kept them a secret through a process called denial of pregnancy. In 2009, Veronique Courjault was found guilty of all three murders and was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment.

 43 
Jean-François Roberval
(French Officer and Adventurer Who Led the First French Colonial Attempt During the 16th Century)
Jean-François Roberval
0
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: Carcassonne, France
Died: 1560 AD

Jean-François Roberval was a French officer and adventurer. Jean-François, who started his career as a soldier, went on to be appointed by Francis I as viceroy of Canada. Jean-François Roberval is best remembered for leading the first French colonial attempt during the 16th century in the Saint Laurent valley. 

 44 
Jacqueline Sauvage
(French Woman Who Shot Her Husband With a Hunting Rifle)
Jacqueline Sauvage
0
Birthdate: December 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Melun, France
Died: July 23, 2020

Jacqueline Sauvage was a French woman who was convicted of killing her husband Norbert Marot. Sauvage shot her husband three times in the back with a hunting rifle on 10 September 2012, the day after their son had committed suicide. Jacqueline Sauvage stated that her husband had abused her, their daughters, and possibly their son sexually and physically.