Famous French Political Leaders

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.

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

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 1 Oswald Mosley

Oswald Mosley.
14
Famous As: British Politician
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

 2 Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle.
8
Famous As: Former President of France
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.

 3 Maximilien de Robespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre.
6
Famous As: Influential Figure of the French Revolution
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.

 4 Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen.
6
Famous As: Political Leader
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.

 5 Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac.
6
Famous As: Former President of France
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 Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde
5
Famous As: Politician
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. 

 7 Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy.
6
Birthdate: January 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
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. 
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 8 Louis-Philippe I of France

Louis-Philippe I of France
6
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: October 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Died: August 26, 1850

 9 François Mitterrand

François Mitterrand.
4
Famous As: Former President of France
Birthdate: October 26, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jarnac
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.

 10 Cardinal Richelieu

Cardinal Richelieu.
7
Famous As: French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman
Birthdate: September 9, 1585
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
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. 

 11 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
4
Famous As: Former President of the French Republic
Birthdate: February 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany

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.

 12 Georges Clémenceau

Georges Clémenceau.
4
Famous As: Former French Prime Minister
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.

 13 François Fillon

François Fillon
3
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer, Legislative assistant
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.

 14 François Hollande

François Hollande.
5
Famous As: President of France
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.

 15 Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron.
43
Famous As: President
Birthdate: December 21, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amiens, France

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, created history on May 14, 2017 when at age 39 he became the youngest person to occupy the chair in the history of the country. He was initially a member of the Socialist Party, but fought the presidential elections under the banner of En Marche, a centrist political movement founded by him in 2016.

 16 Georges Pompidou

Georges Pompidou.
3
Famous As: Former Prime Minister & President of France
Birthdate: July 5, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Montboudif, France
Died: April 2, 1974

Georges Pompidou was a French politician whose tenure as prime minister of France between 1962 and 1968 was the longest in the history of France. From 1969 to 1974, Pompidou served as president of France. He is credited with mending France's relationship with the US and maintaining positive relations with many other countries. 

 17 Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester.
5
Famous As: Politician
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.

 18 Saad Hariri

Saad Hariri
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic al-Hariri, Saad Hariri joined politics after his father was assassinated. After being educated in France and Saudi Arabia, Saad took over his father’s construction business and expanded into the telecom sector. The Future Movement member has also been Lebanon’s prime minister twice.

 19 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte.
2
Famous As: Emperor of the French
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio
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. 

 20 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
5
Famous As: Politician
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 Ségolène Royal

Ségolène Royal.
3
Famous As: Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Birthdate: September 22, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ouakam

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.

 22 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
5
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 15, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Besançon, France
Died: January 19, 1865

Often referred to as the Father of Anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was born to a tavern keeper and grew up working on farms. Largely educated on scholarships, he later became known for his slogan “Property is theft!” and his idea of mutualism. His notable works include What is Property?

 23 Pierre Laval

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

 24 Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
4
Famous As: Economist, Politician, Lawyer, University teacher
Birthdate: April 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
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.

 25 Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rif, Bni Chiker, Nador province, Morocco

Born in her grandmother’s farm in Morocco, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem migrated to France around the age of five. A graduate of Institut d'études politiques de Paris, she joined the Socialist Party (PS) at twenty-five, eventually becoming the first French woman to serve as Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research. Currently, she serves as Director of the One Campaign in France.

 26 Francis, Duke of Anjou

Francis, Duke of Anjou
5
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: March 18, 1555
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: June 10, 1584

 27 Simone Veil

Simone Veil
3
Famous As: Politician, Judge
Birthdate: July 13, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nice

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.

 28 Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans

Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
3
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: April 13, 1747
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Domaine de Saint Cloud, Saint-Cloud, France
Died: November 6, 1793

 29 Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: January 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

 30 Anne Hidalgo

Anne Hidalgo
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 19, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Fernando, Spain

 31 Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: La Trinité-sur-Mer, France

 32 John I of France

John I of France
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: November 15, 1316
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: November 20, 1316

 33 Louis VI of France

Louis VI of France
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1081 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 1, 1137

 34 Jean, Count of Paris

Jean, Count of Paris
3
Famous As: Noble
Birthdate: May 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

 35 Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Jean-Baptiste Colbert
5
Famous As: Economist, Politician
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.

 36 Louis Antoine de Saint-Just

Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
3
Famous As: Politician, Writer
Birthdate: August 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Decize
Died: July 28, 1794

 37 Louis, Duke of Burgundy

Louis, Duke of Burgundy
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 16, 1682
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: February 18, 1712

 38 Jérôme Bonaparte

Jérôme Bonaparte
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: November 15, 1784
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ajaccio
Died: June 24, 1860

 39 Léon Blum

Léon Blum.
3
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of France
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.

 40 Charles, Prince Napoleon

Charles, Prince Napoleon
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 41 Georges-Eugène Haussmann

Georges-Eugène Haussmann
3
Famous As: Official
Birthdate: March 27, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 11, 1891

 42 Carlo Buonaparte

Carlo Buonaparte
3
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: March 27, 1746
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: February 24, 1785

 43 Carus

Carus
3
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0222 AD
Birthplace: Narbo
Died: July 31, 0283

 44 Henry I of France

Henry I of France
3
Famous As: politician
Birthdate: May 4, 1008
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reims
Died: August 4, 1060

 45 Félix Faure

Félix Faure
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 30, 1841
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
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.

 46 François-René de Chateaubriand

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

 47 Frederic Bastiat

Frederic Bastiat
3
Famous As: Politician
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.

 48 Aime Cesaire

Aime Cesaire
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Basse-Pointe, Martinique, France
Died: April 17, 2008

 49 Raymond Poincaré

Raymond Poincaré
3
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer, Journalist
Birthdate: August 20, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bar-le-Duc
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.

 50 Robert Schuman

Robert Schuman
3
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: June 29, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Luxembourg