Famous French Diplomats

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Find out more about the greatest French Diplomats, including Alexis de Tocqueville, Christine Lagarde, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Joseph Bonaparte and Laurent Fabius.
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 1 
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
(1st Prime Minister of France (1815), Ambassador of France to the UK (1830-34))
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
4
Birthdate: February 2, 1754
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 17, 1838

While his clubfoot prevented him from joining the army and also earned him the nickname The Lame Devil, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord later became the bishop of Autun. Known for his womanizing ways, he also went down in history as an opportunist who changed sides.

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
4
Birthdate: February 2, 1754
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 17, 1838

French diplomat and bishop Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord is counted among the most pragmatic and prominent diplomats in European history. He served King Louis XVI and thereafter changed sides several times, serving at highest levels of successive French governments of Napoleon I, Louis XVIII and Louis Philippe I. He served as the first Prime Minister of France under Louis XVIII.

 3 
Romain Gary
(French Diplomat & Novelist)
Romain Gary
4
Birthdate: May 21, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vilnius, Republic Of Lithuania
Died: December 2, 1980

Romain Gary was a French novelist, diplomat, and film director of Jewish origin. He also served as an aviator during World War II. One of France’s most popular and prolific writers, he is the only author to have won the Prix Goncourt twice. He had a troubled personal life and died of suicide in 1980.

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 4 
Ferdinand de Lesseps
4
Birthdate: November 19, 1805
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: December 7, 1894

Ferdinand de Lesseps was a French diplomat who is credited with forming the Suez Canal Company. The construction of the Suez Canal, which joined the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, inspired the 1938 romantic drama film Suez where Lesseps was played by Tyrone Power. Lesseps has been portrayed by other actors in films and TV mini-series as well.

François-René de Chateaubriand
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1768
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
Died: July 4, 1848

François-René de Chateaubriand was a French writer, diplomat, historian, and politician. Chateaubriand had a major influence on 19th-century French literature. François-René de Chateaubriand is also remembered for defending the Catholic faith by writing The Genius of Christianity when most intellectuals were turning against the Church. Chateaubriand was a food enthusiast; it is believed that Chateaubriand steak is named after him.

 6 
Jean Monnet
(French Politician and One of the Founding Fathers of the 'European Union')
Jean Monnet
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cognac, France
Died: March 16, 1979

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.

 7 
Christine Lagarde
(French Politician and Economist Who is the First Woman to Head the IMF and the European Central Bank)
Christine Lagarde
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France

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. 

 8 
Carlo Buonaparte
(Corsican Lawyer Best Known as the Father of 'Napoleon Bonaparte' and Grandfather of 'Napoleon III')
Carlo Buonaparte
5
Birthdate: March 27, 1746
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: February 24, 1785

Though he initially studied law, Carlo Buonaparte quit without a degree to take charge of his inheritance after his father’s death. He later served Pasquale Paoli. However, following the French conquest of Corsica, he completed his legal education. He is best remembered as the father of Napoleon Bonaparte.

 9 
Arthur de Gobineau
(French Aristocrat & Writer Best Known for Helping to Legitimise 'Racism' by the Use of Scientific Racist Theory)
Arthur de Gobineau
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1816
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ville-d'Avray, France
Died: October 13, 1882

Arthur de Gobineau was a French aristocrat best remembered for his efforts to legitimize racism. He cited scientific racist theory as legitimate evidence in an attempt to coerce people into believing that the Aryan race is superior. He was also known as a novelist, travel writer, and diplomat among his contemporaries. 

 10 
Joseph de Maistre
(Philosopher Who Advocated Social Hierarchy & Monarchy in the Period Immediately Following the French Revolution)
Joseph de Maistre
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1753
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chambéry, France
Died: February 26, 1821

A qualified lawyer, Joseph de Maistre was also a skilled diplomat, moralist, and author. Part of the Savoy Senate, he was exiled in Switzerland after Napoleon’s invasion and later also served in Russia and an envoy of the Sardinian king. A staunch Roman Catholic, he was against liberal and scientific beliefs.

 11 
Chevalier d'Éon
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1728
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tonnere, France
Died: May 21, 1810

Chevalier d'Éon not just fought for France in the Seven Years' War but was also a spy. Interestingly, he led the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman. In his unpublished memoir, he claimed he was a woman raised as a man.

 12 
Paul Claudel
(Playwright, Poet, Diplomat, Writer, Diarist, Poet lawyer, Translator)
Paul Claudel
3
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.

 13 
Bernard Kouchner
(Physician, Politician, Diplomat)
Bernard Kouchner
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Avignon

Bernard Kouchner is a French politician and doctor who co-founded Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). He once worked as a physician for the Red Cross and was a humanitarian volunteer during the Siege of Naba’a. As a politician, he was the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He is a recipient of the Victor Gollancz Prize.

 14 
Jacques Pierre Brissot
(Former Member of the French National Convention for Eure-et-Loir (1792 - 1793))
Jacques Pierre Brissot
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1754
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chartres, France
Died: October 31, 1793

Jacques Pierre Brissot was a French journalist and publisher. He was one of the most important members of the Girondins, who played a prominent role during the French Revolution. Brissot is also credited with founding the Society of the Friends of the Blacks, an abolitionist society, which aimed at abolishing the institution of slavery.

 15 
Jules Ferry
(Politician, Diplomat, Lawyer, Journalist)
Jules Ferry
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1832
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Died: March 17, 1893

Once the prime minister of France, Jules Ferry was a Moderate Republican leader, who is remembered for his efforts in the French colonial expansion. He followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer but gained fame as a political critic. He later became increasingly unpopular due to expenditures incurred in wars. 

 16 
Edmond-Charles Genêt
(French envoy)
Edmond-Charles Genêt
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1763
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: July 14, 1834

Edmond-Charles Genêt was a French diplomat sent to the United States of America during the French Revolution. His activities upon his arrival in USA led to the major political incident which came to be known as the Citizen Genêt Affair. He married the daughter of an American politician and became a gentleman farmer. He never returned to France. 

 17 
André Bettencourt
(Politician, Diplomat)
André Bettencourt
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan
Died: November 19, 2007

Croix de Guerre-winning French politician André Bettencourt was initially part of the pro-fascist and anti-communist group La Cagoule, which was financially supported by L'Oréal founder Eugène Schueller. He later married Schueller’s daughter, Liliane. Though he initially wrote for Nazi propagandist newspapers, he later joined the anti-Nazi resistance.

Alexandre Colonna-Walewski
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1810
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walewice, Poland
Died: September 27, 1868

Widely known as the illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Polish noblewoman mistress, Countess Marie Walewska, Alexandre Colonna-Walewski was a French diplomat and politician. Apart from serving as a foreign minister, he is also believed to have collaborated with Alexandre Dumas on an opera.

 19 
Jean-Louis Tauran
(Cardinal of the Catholic Church)
Jean-Louis Tauran
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: July 5, 2018

Jean-Louis Tauran was a French cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was also the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. Ordained to the priesthood in 1969, he entered the Vatican's diplomatic service a few years later. He was the Vatican's chief archivist and librarian for several years. 

 20 
Laurent Fabius
(Politician, Diplomat)
Laurent Fabius
3
Birthdate: August 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris

At 37, Laurent Fabius was the youngest prime minister of the Fifth Republic of France. He has also held important ministries such as finance and foreign affairs. He is known for making 195 countries sign the first universal pact at the Paris Climate Change Conference, as a UN Environment Patron.

 21 
François Guizot
(Politician, Diplomat, Historian, Translator, Writer, Literary critic, Carpenter)
François Guizot
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1787
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nîmes
Died: September 12, 1874

François Guizot was a French historian and statesman. He was a key figure in French politics in the years leading to the Revolution of 1848. After serving under the "citizen king" Louis Philippe in several roles, he was made the Prime Minister of France in 1847. He played a critical role in expanding public education. 

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon
2
Birthdate: January 16, 1675
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 2, 1755
 23 
Saint-John Perse
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
Died: September 20, 1975
 24 
Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes
(Former Chief minister of France)
Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes
2
Birthdate: December 29, 1719
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Died: February 13, 1787
 25 
Jean Giraudoux
(Novelist)
Jean Giraudoux
2
Birthdate: October 29, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bellac, France
Died: January 31, 1944
 26 
Pope Martin IV
2
Birthdate: 1210 AD
Birthplace: Touraine, France
Died: March 28, 1285
 27 
Roger Etchegaray
(Cardinal-Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina (1998–2019))
Roger Etchegaray
2
Birthdate: September 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Espelette, France
Died: August 4, 2019
 28 
Jean Casimir-Périer
(President of France 1894 – 1895)
Jean Casimir-Périer
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, July Monarchy France
Died: March 11, 1907

Great-grandson of Bank of France co-founder Claude Périer and the son of a minister, Jean Casimir-Périer was an affluent businessman. He later became the president of France, but frustrated by internal politics and the opposition’s slander, he quit politics after 6 months and focused on his mining business.

Chrétien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1721
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 22, 1794
 30 
Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq
(Flemish Diplomat Who Was an Ambassador to Turkey)
Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq
2
Birthdate: 1522 AD
Birthplace: Comines, France
Died: October 28, 1592

Flemish diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq served several Austrian emperors, including Ferdinand I. He was an ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, present-day Turkey, and wrote extensively on Turkish life and culture. His final years were spent at the service of Elizabeth of Austria. He also collected manuscripts and curios.

 31 
Étienne François, duc de Choiseul
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1719
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: May 8, 1785
 32 
Roger Peyrefitte
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Castres, Tarn, France
Died: November 5, 2000
Armand-Emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu
2
Birthdate: September 14, 1766
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 17, 1822

Armand-Emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu was a French statesman. He served as an officer in the Russian Imperial Army during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He was a royalist and actively supported monarchy during the Bourbon Restoration, following which he became the prime minister of France. He was married to Alexandrine Rosalie Sabine de Rochechouart-Faudoas.  

 34 
Jean Nicot
(Diplomat and scholar)
Jean Nicot
2
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Nîmes, France
Died: May 4, 1604
 35 
Enguerrand de Marigny
2
Birthdate: 1260 AD
Birthplace: Lyons-la-Forêt, France
Died: April 30, 1315
 36 
Joseph Fesch
(Diplomat)
Joseph Fesch
2
Birthdate: January 3, 1763
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 13, 1839
Armand de Vignerot du Plessis
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1696
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 8, 1788
 38 
Maurice Couve de Murville
(Former Prime Minister of France (1968 - 1969) and Diplomat)
Maurice Couve de Murville
2
Birthdate: January 24, 1907
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: December 24, 1999

Maurice Couve de Murville was a French diplomat and politician who served as the prime minister of France from 1968 to 1969. Prior to this, he was the minister of foreign affairs from 1958 to 1968. He played a key role in the critical Franco-German treaty of cooperation and laid the foundation for the Paris-Bonn axis as the foreign minister.  

James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope
2
Birthdate: 1673 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 5, 1721
 40 
Vivant Denon
(Artist)
Vivant Denon
2
Birthdate: January 4, 1747
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Died: April 27, 1825
Albert, 4th duc de Broglie
2
Birthdate: June 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 19, 1901

Albert, 4th duc de Broglie was a 19th-century French monarchist politician, diplomat, and writer. He served as the prime minister of France for two non-consecutive terms. The eldest son of Victor, 3rd duc de Broglie, he succeeded his father as the 4th duc de Broglie in 1870.  He was appointed the prime minister for the first time in May 1873. 

Armand-Augustin-Louis de Caulaincourt
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Caulaincourt, Aisne, France
Died: February 19, 1827
 43 
Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut
2
Birthdate: April 21, 1785
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 1, 1870
 44 
Andrew of Lonjumeau
2
Birthdate: 0000
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: France
Died: October 31, 0000
 45 
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
(French diplomat and writer)
Maurice-Georges Paléologue
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1859
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 21, 1944

Maurice-Georges Paléologue was a French diplomat and historian. He was also an essayist of great caliber. He played a pivotal role in the French entry into the First World War. At that time, he was the French ambassador to Russia and was in support of the Russian mobilization against Germany. He was also a published author of novels and essays. 

 46 
Philippe de Commines
(French Writer, Historian and Diplomat)
Philippe de Commines
2
Birthdate: 1447 AD
Birthplace: Renescure, France
Died: October 18, 1511

Philippe de Commines was a writer and diplomat who worked in the courts of Burgundy and France. Modern historians often call him "the first truly modern writer". He began his career as a soldier and later became a knight. He composed the Mémoires, which was posthumously published in three segments (1524-28) several years after his death in 1511. 

 47 
Georges Catroux
(Army general)
Georges Catroux
2
Birthdate: January 29, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Limoges, France
Died: December 21, 1969
Anne Jean Marie René Savary
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1774
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Marcq, France
Died: June 2, 1833
 49 
Louis Darquier de Pellepoix
2
Birthdate: December 19, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cahors, France
Died: August 29, 1980
 50 
Victor de Broglie
(Politician)
Victor de Broglie
2
Birthdate: November 28, 1785
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 25, 1870