Albert Camus was a French philosopher and the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His philosophical views contributed to the rise of absurdism, a philosophical concept. Also a prolific writer, Albert Camus had an illustrious literary career; most of his philosophical essays and novels are still influential.
Colette was a French author who received a nomination for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. She is remembered for her novella Gigi, which inspired the 1958 movie and the 1973 musical of the same name. Her life and work have inspired several films, including the 2018 biographical drama film Colette, where Keira Knightley played the title role.
French writer, poet, aristocrat, and journalist, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is best remembered for his novella, The Little Prince. He was a pioneering aviator as a young man. A successful commercial pilot before World War II, he joined the French Air Force at the start of the war. Equally successful as a writer, he won several of France's highest literary awards.
French and American writer, journalist, and pianist Ève Curie was one of the daughters of scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. She was the only one in the Curie family who did not choose a career in science. She authored her mother’s biography and was actively involved with UNICEF, helping women and children in developing countries.
Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher who wrote extensively on philosophy, film, fine art, and literature. Widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Deleuze's works have influenced a wide range of disciplines, such as philosophy, literary theory, and art. His work has also influenced movements like postmodernism and post-structuralism.
Anatole France was a French poet, novelist, and journalist. Renowned for writing many best-sellers, Anatole France was one of the most respected French writers of his generation. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1921 for his brilliant literary achievements.
Former French president and three-time prime minister Raymond Poincaré was a qualified lawyer and the co-founder of the Democratic Republican Alliance. He suggested a retrial in the Dreyfus Affair and was also largely responsible for France’s entry into World War II. He also introduced a highly debated denaturalization law.
10 Éric Zemmour
French far-right politician Éric Zemmour gained fame on the show Face à l'Info. He has also been a prominent political journalist for publications such as Le Quotidien de Paris and Le Figaro. The founder-leader of Reconquête, he was grabbed by the neck by an unknown man at his first campaign rally.
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau was the son of renowned economist Victor Riqueti. A bout of small pox disfigured his face permanently but that didn’t stop him from rising as a leader of the French Revolution. However, posthumously, he was proved to be a royalist.
15 Paul Reynaud
Adolphe Thiers was a French historian and statesman who served as the French Third Republic's first President. He also served as the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of France in 1840. Apart from playing a major role in the French Revolution of 1830, which ended the Bourbon monarchy, Thiers also played a key role in the French Revolution of 1848.
19 Chris Marker
Chris Marker was a French photographer, writer, multimedia artist, film director, and film essayist. He is considered an exponent of the Left Bank subgroup of the French New Wave that came into existence in the 1950s and 1960s. After starting his career by working with members of the Left Bank Film Movement, Marker went on to help popularize the genre.
Georges Sorel was a French political theorist, social thinker, journalist, and historian. He is credited with inspiring Sorelianism, a support system for his ideologies. Georges Sorel is also credited with inspiring several socialists, Fascists, Marxists, and anarchists. In 1891, Georges Sorel was honored with the prestigious Légion d'honneur.
28 Louis Aragon
A significant figure of the Paris Commune, Louise Michel was born as an illegitimate child of a maid. She had initially been trained to be a teacher but later began developing an interest in revolutionary socialist ideas. She was also once sent behind bars for inciting riots.
31 Victor Noir
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.
Elliott Erwitt is a French-born American documentary and advertising photographer. He is best known for his candid photos of absurd and ironic situations within everyday settings. Since 1953, Erwitt has been one of the most important members of the international photographic cooperative-owned association, Magnum Photos. Also an activist, Elliott Erwitt helped raise social awareness in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jacques Rivette was a French film critic and director. One of the most important members of the French New Wave, Rivette's work is renowned for its loose narratives, improvisation, and lengthy running times. Rivette, who started his career as a film critic, worked for the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and his articles helped popularize the magazine in the 1960s.
André Weinfeld is a TV and film producer, cinematographer, director, screenwriter, journalist, and photographer. In addition to covering the rock and roll and pop scenes of the 1960s and 1970s, André Weinfeld also worked as a war correspondent, covering wars such as the Six-Day War, Vietnam War, and the Yom Kippur War.
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.
44 Jules Ferry
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.
45 Raymond Aron
Best known for his book The Opium of the Intellectuals, Raymond Aron was one of the most influential thinkers of his time. While he initially taught social philosophy, he also served the French air force during World War II. He also had long-term stints as a columnist for Le Figaro and L’Express.
46 Paul Doumer
Paul Doumer initially worked as a math professor and an editor. He had a successful stint as the governor general of French Indochina and later became the president of France. He was assassinated by a French anarchist, who shot him at a book fair event in Paris.
Louis Auguste Blanqui was a French socialist who gave rise to Blanquism, a form of radicalism. While he initially studied both medicine and law, he later stepped into politics. He had been imprisoned for more than three decades and died of a stroke after a political speech at age 75.