Famous French Political Leaders

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

French politics has evolved over the course of time and the geographical and socio-economic characteristics of the nation have played an important part in it. Politics in the country has always been an embodiment of their heritage, ideology and culture; reflecting in the distinctive combination of parliamentary and presidential systems. France has produced some of the famous political leaders, be it in the past or in current times. Their politics is a perfect example of the oxymoron: ‘constantly changing’—globalization and the various political institutions playing a significant role in the changes that take place. Famous French political leaders like Maximilien Robespierre, Jean Monnet and others, exhibited strong nationalist emotions and intellectuality along with determination to safeguard the French culture. These leaders are remembered to this day for either the causes they have fought for or the idiosyncrasies or governing methods they have adopted and also for the changes they have successfully brought about. Whatever the reason may be, these famous leaders have dramatically molded the way French politics has worked all along. We present to you an extensive collection of biographies of some of the most famous French political leaders. Read on to know more about their life stories, timelines and some interesting facts & trivia related to them.

Vote for Your Favourite French Political Leaders
 1 
Charles de Gaulle
(Former French President & Army Officer Who Led 'Free France' against Nazi Germany in World War II)
Charles de Gaulle
18
Birthdate: November 22, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lille, France
Died: November 9, 1970

Charles de Gaulle was a French statesman and army officer. Charles de Gaulle fought against Nazi Germany in the Second World War by leading the Free French Forces. He also worked towards re-establishing democracy in France. He founded the Fifth Republic, France's current republican system, and rewrote the Constitution of France. He then served as the president of France.

 2 
Marine Le Pen
(French Lawyer and President of the National Rally Group in the National Assembly )
Marine Le Pen
15
Birthdate: August 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

French politician and lawyer Marine Le Pen, daughter of politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been the president of the National Rally since 2011. She is also serving as the member of the National Assembly for Pas-de-Calais's 11th constituency since 2017. She was previously a member of the European Parliament.

 3 
Oswald Mosley
(British Politician)
Oswald Mosley
21
Birthdate: November 16, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mayfair, London
Died: December 3, 1980
Named by BBC History as the “worst” historical British person of the 20th century, Oswald Mosley started off as an MP in the 1920s. He was part of the Conservative Party and then the Labour Party. He then formed the British Union of Fascists and the United Kingdom New Party
 4 
Maximilien de Robespierre
(French Lawyer and Statesman & One of the Most Influential Figures of the 'French Revolution')
Maximilien de Robespierre
10
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: July 28, 1794
Maximilien de Robespierre was a leading left-wing lawyer and leader during the Reign of Terror. He led the Committee of Public Safety and was part of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club. He was accused of establishing a dictatorship and was guillotined in 1794, thus beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.
 5 
Jacques Chirac
(President of France (1995 - 2007))
Jacques Chirac
14
Birthdate: November 29, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 26, 2019

Jacques Chirac was a French politician who served as France's prime minister on two occasions, first from 1974 to 1976 and then from 1986 to 1988. He also served as France's president from 1995 to 2007. Because of his long career in prominent government positions, Chirac was often caricatured or parodied. He was also depicted in films, such as W.

 6 
Irène Joliot-Curie
(French Physicist, Politician and Winner of the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)
Irène Joliot-Curie
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 17, 1956

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, herself a brilliant scientist, won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Joliot-Curie, for discovering artificial radioactivity. She was also one of the first three female French government members. She tragically died of leukemia caused by exposure to radiation.

 7 
François Mitterrand
(President of France (1981-1995))
François Mitterrand
8
Birthdate: October 26, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jarnac, France
Died: January 8, 1996
François Mitterrand served as the French president from 1981 to 1995, becoming the longest-tenured president in the history of his country. He was the first to name a female prime minister, Édith Cresson. He is known for his investments in several Grands Projets and his opposition of the Fifth Republic.
 8 
Louis IX of France
(King of France (1226-1270))
Louis IX of France
7
Birthdate: April 25, 1214
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Poissy, France
Died: August 25, 1270
Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis, reigned as the king of France from 1226 to 1270. He remains the only French king who was canonized in the Catholic Church. He reformed the French justice system. His reign is remembered for its economic prosperity. He died fighting the Eighth crusade.
 9 
Cardinal Richelieu
(French Clergyman and First Minister of State (1624 - 1642))
Cardinal Richelieu
9
Birthdate: September 9, 1585
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 4, 1642

Cardinal Richelieu was a French clergyman and statesman who was active in the early 17th century. He held powerful positions in both the Catholic Church and French government and served as the chief minister to Louis XIII of France in 1624. He helped the French maintain their dominance in the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe. 

 10 
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
(President of France (1974 - 1981))
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
6
Birthdate: February 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany
Died: December 2, 2020

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was a seasoned French politician who served as President of France. During his presidency, Giscard d'Estaing promoted nuclear power and liberalisation of trade, pushed for development of projects like TGV, and took a more liberal attitude on social issues like divorce, abortion and contraception. He emerged as the longest-lived president in the history of France.

 11 
Georges Danton
(Minister of Justice of France (1792))
Georges Danton
6
Birthdate: October 26, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Arcis-sur-Aube, France
Died: April 5, 1794

Georges Danton was a major figure in the early stages of the French Revolution. While many historians state that he played a key role in the establishment of the First French Republic, a few scholars refute this claim. He served as the first president of the Committee of Public Safety and was beheaded by the advocates of revolutionary terror. 

 12 
Georges Clémenceau
(Former French Prime Minister)
Georges Clémenceau
5
Birthdate: September 28, 1841
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mouilleron-en-Pareds, Vendee
Died: November 24, 1929

Georges Clémenceau, or The Tiger, who had served as the French prime minister, is remembered as a key figure of the French Third Republic. He not only played a major role in the Allied victory in World War I, but was also a key framer of the Treaty of Versailles.

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
6
Birthdate: May 23, 1208
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montfort-l'Amaury
Died: August 4, 1265

French nobleman Simon de Montfort gave away his family lands to become the Earl of Leicester instead. Though King Henry III married off his sister Eleanor to Simon without consulting his barons, Simon later turned against the king. After being killed by Roger Mortimer, Simon’s body was mutilated by royalists.

 14 
Louis VII of France
(King of France (1137-1180))
Louis VII of France
5
Birthdate: 1120 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 18, 1180

Louis VII of France was the king of the Franks for over four decades from 1137 to 1180.  The second son of Louis VI of France and Adelaide of Maurienne, he unexpectedly became the heir to the throne following his elder brother’s death. He had a long but difficult reign and was succeeded by his son Philip II.

 15 
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.

 16 
François Fillon
(Politician, Lawyer, Legislative assistant)
François Fillon
4
Birthdate: March 4, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Le Mans

Former prime minister of France and Republican party member François Fillon had also held many important portfolios, such as the ministries of education and ecology. An Anglophile, he is married to a Welsh-born wife. He was later found involved in a fake jobs scandal and was convicted of fund embezzlement.

 17 
Ségolène Royal
(Former French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (2014 - 2017))
Ségolène Royal
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ouakam, Dakar, Senegal

Born to a French colonel in Senegal, Ségolène Royal had met former French president François Hollande, her future husband, while studying economics at the Paris-based École Nationale d’Administration. The mother of four has also been a Socialist Party presidential candidate and the French minister of ecology.

 18 
François Hollande
(President of France)
François Hollande
6
Birthdate: August 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rouen

François Hollande served as the president of France from 2012 to 2017. He has earlier been the president of the General Council of Corrèze and the First Secretary of the Socialist Party. Of the many significant policies undertaken by him was the legalization of same-sex marriage through Bill 344.

 19 
Simone Veil
(Member of the Constitutional Council 1998 - 2007)
Simone Veil
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: June 30, 2017

A Holocaust survivor, Simone Veil had lost her father, mother, and brother to Nazi concentration camps. She grew up to be a magistrate and became the first woman president of the European Parliament. She had also been an able health minister and rallied for abortion rights of French women.

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
6
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.

 21 
Christine Lagarde
(French Politician and Economist Who is the First Woman to Head the IMF and the European Central Bank)
Christine Lagarde
6
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. 

 22 
Pierre Laval
(Politician, Lawyer)
Pierre Laval
5
Birthdate: June 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Châteldon
Died: October 15, 1945

Pierre Laval was a French politician who served as prime minister of France for two non-consecutive terms. A lawyer by qualification, he defended trade unions and leftists against government prosecution. As a politician, he held many governmental positions. After the liberation of France in 1944, he was arrested by the new French government and executed following a flawed trial.

 23 
Nicolas Sarkozy
(President of France (2007-12))
Nicolas Sarkozy
10
Birthdate: January 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Nicolas Sarkozy served as the French president from 2007 to 2012. A qualified lawyer, he had held a number of significant administrative positions, such as the Minister of Finance, earlier. Among other reforms, he introduced a two-term limit for French presidents. He is married to popular singer Carla Bruni. 
 24 
Jean-Luc Mélenchon
(Former President of the La France Insoumise group)
Jean-Luc Mélenchon
0
Birthdate: August 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tangier, Morocco
 25 
Anne Hidalgo
(Politician)
Anne Hidalgo
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Fernando, Spain
 26 
Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))
Napoleon Bonaparte
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1747
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Domaine de Saint Cloud, Saint-Cloud, France
Died: November 6, 1793
 28 
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
(Economist, Politician)
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1619
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reims
Died: September 6, 1683

Born into a merchant family in France, Jean-Baptiste Colbert grew up to hold various administrative posts. Patronized by Cardinal Mazarin, he became affluent and later became one of the most efficient administrators during the regime of Louis XIV. He also established the French merchant navy.

 29 
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
(Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (1 November 2007 – 18 May 2011))
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
4
Birthdate: April 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
French economist and former MD of IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn grew up in Morocco, where his parents worked. Before joining politics, he taught economics. He has been in the midst of many controversies, including a sex scandal, in which a hotel maid accused him of sexual assault.
 30 
Jean-Marie Le Pen
(French Far-Right Politician)
Jean-Marie Le Pen
7
Birthdate: June 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: La Trinité-sur-Mer, France

Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French politician who focuses on issues pertaining to the European Union, immigration to France, France's unemployment, and law and order. From 1972 to 2011, he worked as President of the National Front. From 2011 to 2015, Le Pen served as the National Front's Honorary President.

 31 
John I of France
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1316
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: November 20, 1316
Francis, Duke of Anjou
5
Birthdate: March 18, 1555
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: June 10, 1584
 33 
Félix Faure
(President of France 1895 – 1899)
Félix Faure
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1841
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 16, 1899

Born to a furniture maker in Paris, Félix Faure initially worked as a tanner. After gaining considerable wealth as a merchant later, he became the deputy mayor of Le Havre and then the president of France. He is remembered for his reluctance to reopen the case of Alfred Dreyfus.

 34 
Louis VI of France
3
Birthdate: 1081 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 1, 1137
 35 
Jérôme Bonaparte
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1784
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ajaccio
Died: June 24, 1860
Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
3
Birthdate: August 24, 1113
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Le Mans, France
Died: September 7, 1151
 37 
Charles, Prince Napoleon
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Jean, Count of Paris
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
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.

 40 
Léon Blum
(Former Prime Minister of France)
Léon Blum
3
Birthdate: April 9, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris
Died: March 30, 1950

Born into a Jewish family in Paris, three-time French prime minister Léon Blum had initially studied law. He joined politics inspired by the Dreyfus affair. The first socialist and the first Jew to head France, he introduced reforms such as the 40-hour work week and paid vacations.

 41 
Frédéric Bastiat
(Member of the National Assembly of France (1848 - 1850))
Frédéric Bastiat
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bayonne, France
Died: December 24, 1850

An ardent follower of Adam Smith’s ideas, French economist Frederic Bastiat propagated the concept of free trade. Apart from launching his journal Le Libre-Échange, he also penned the iconic satire Sophismes économiques and his most notable work The Law. He also introduced what later came to be known as opportunity cost.

 42 
Éric Zemmour
(French Far-Right Politician Known for His Controversial Views Regarding Immigration and Islam in France)
Éric Zemmour
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreuil, France

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.

 43 
James Goldsmith
(Politician)
James Goldsmith
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 18, 1997
 44 
Aime Cesaire
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Basse-Pointe, Martinique, France
Died: April 17, 2008
Georges-Eugène Haussmann
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 11, 1891
 46 
Raymond Poincaré
(President of France from 1913 to 1920)
Raymond Poincaré
3
Birthdate: August 20, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bar-le-Duc, France
Died: October 15, 1934

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.

 47 
Manuel Valls
(Politician)
Manuel Valls
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barcelona
 48 
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.

 49 
Joseph-Ignace Guillotin
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saintes, France
Died: March 26, 1814
 50 
Íngrid Betancourt
(politician)
Íngrid Betancourt
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bogotá