Famous French Presidents

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Europe’s cultural, political and military power, France is one of the developed countries of the world, with the sixth largest economy and ninth largest purchasing power parity. The country presently follows a unitary semi-presidential republic with the President as the executive head of the state of the French Fifth Republic. Though the executive powers of the day-to-day function are administered by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers, the President of France wields significant influence and authority over national security and foreign policy. Unlike other European nations, French President holds a very powerful position. He holds the nation’s senior-most office, is the ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serves as the Grand Master of the Légion d'honneur and the Ordre national du Mérite and is the honorary proto-canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The office of the President as first formed on October 4, 1958, its first holder being Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. Over the years, the office of the President has undergone numerous changes, the term shortened, the power augmented and so on. Also, many prominent politicians have held the chair of the President of France since its inception, right from Bonaparte to the incumbent Francois Hollande. Check this segment to find in detail about French presidents, their life, their journey to premiership and their work as the President.
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 1 
Charles de Gaulle
(Former French President & Army Officer Who Led 'Free France' against Nazi Germany in World War II)
Charles de Gaulle
8
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 
Jacques Chirac
(President of France (1995 - 2007))
Jacques Chirac
11
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.

 3 
François Mitterrand
(President of France from 1981 to 1995)
François Mitterrand
7
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.
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 4 
Emmanuel Macron
(President of France )
Emmanuel Macron
29
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.

 5 
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
(President of France (1974 - 1981))
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
4
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.

 6 
Nicolas Sarkozy
(President of France from 2007 to 2012)
Nicolas Sarkozy
21
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. 
 7 
François Hollande
(President of France from 2012 to 2017)
François Hollande
17
Birthdate: August 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rouen, Seine-Maritime Seine-Inférieure, France

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.

 8 
Félix Faure
(Former President of France)
Félix Faure
4
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.

 9 
Adolphe Thiers
(The Second Elected President of France and First President of the 'French Third Republic')
Adolphe Thiers
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bouc-Bel-Air, France
Died: September 3, 1877

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.

 10 
Albert Lebrun
(Former President of France)
Albert Lebrun
2
Birthdate: August 29, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mercy-le-Haut, France
Died: March 6, 1950

The last French president of the Third Republic, Albert Lebrun had been a skilled mining engineer before venturing into politics. A moderate conservative, he served more as a mediator between the right and the left and called for French unity during World War II, but wasn’t a strong leader.

 11 
Vincent Auriol
(President of France from 1947 to 1954)
Vincent Auriol
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Revel, France
Died: January 1, 1966

Vincent Auriol, former French president, was initially a lawyer and also headed the Association of Journalists in Toulouse. A Socialist Party member, he had also served as more of a conciliatory agent between the left and the right wings, as a minister in Charles de Gaulle’s cabinet.

 12 
René Coty
(President of France from 1954 to 1959)
René Coty
2
Birthdate: March 20, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: November 22, 1962

A qualified lawyer, René Coty had been the last president of the Fourth French Republic. His presidency was plagued by issues such as the Algerian question, and his threat to resign during the May 1958 crisis accelerated the election of Charles de Gaulle as the prime minister of France.

 13 
Sadi Carnot
(President of France from 1887 to 1894)
Sadi Carnot
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1837
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Limoges, July Monarchy France
Died: June 25, 1894

Integrity of French statesman Marie François Sadi Carnot led him to get elected as fourth president of the Third French Republic. He assumed office in 1887 at a critical juncture when the republic was almost openly attacked by General Boulanger. Carnot served as the President of France until he was assassinated by Italian anarchist Sante Geronimo Caserio in 1894.

 14 
Paul Doumer
(Former President of France)
Paul Doumer
2
Birthdate: March 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Aurillac, France
Died: May 7, 1932

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.

 15 
Alain Poher
(Politician)
Alain Poher
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ablon-sur-Seine, France
Died: December 9, 1996

After studying engineering and law, Alain Poher entered politics, as part of the Christian Democratic movement. He had been the acting president of France twice, first after the resignation of Charles de Gaulle and then after the death of Georges Pompidou. He was also the president of the European Parliament.

 16 
Émile Loubet
(President of France from 1899 to 1906, 45th Prime Minister of France)
Émile Loubet
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marsanne, France
Died: December 20, 1929

A qualified lawyer and a skilled orator, Émile Loubet had been the mayor of Montélimar, before becoming the prime minister and then the president of France. He was responsible for improving France’s relationship with Britain. He also accelerated the separation of the Church and the French government.

 17 
Jules Grévy
(Former President of France)
Jules Grévy
2
Birthdate: August 15, 1807
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mont-sous-Vaudrey, France
Died: September 9, 1891

Son of a French army man, Jules Grévy was a lawyer before he joined politics. He later became the president of France and pushed for a strong legislature. He adopted moderate foreign policies and was against colonial expansion. He resigned in the wake of a corruption scandal involving his son-in-law.

 18 
Paul Deschanel
(Former President of France)
Paul Deschanel
2
Birthdate: February 13, 1855
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died: April 28, 1922

Son of Émile Deschanel, a professor exiled due to his opposition to Napoleon III, Paul Deschanel grew up to study law. Before becoming the president of France, he had also been the president of the Chamber of Deputies. A skilled author, too, he was part of the Académie Française.

 19 
Gaston Doumergue
(Former President of France)
Gaston Doumergue
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aigues-Vives, France
Died: June 18, 1937

Gaston Doumergue, the only Protestant to hold office as President of France was counted among the most popular French presidents. He also emerged as the first President of France to marry in office. He served as Prime Minister of France briefly from December 1913 to June 1914 and again following his presidency from February 1934 to November that year.

 20 
Patrice de MacMahon
(Former President of France)
Patrice de MacMahon
1
Birthdate: June 13, 1808
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Château de Sully, Sully, France
Died: October 17, 1893

Son of Irish immigrants in France, Patrice de Mac-Mahon was a distinguished military general before he became the president of France. His military victory at Magenta earned him the title of the Duke of Magenta. His presidency witnessed the formation of the 1875 constitutional laws and the Third Republic.

 21 
Alexandre Millerand
(President of France (1920-1924))
Alexandre Millerand
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 6, 1943

A qualified lawyer, Alexandre Millerand had served as both the president and the prime minister of France. He had also held important portfolios, such as the ministries of war and commerce. He once attempted to increase presidential powers by revising the constitution. His published works include Le Socialisme réformiste.

 22 
Armand Fallières
(Former President of France)
Armand Fallières
1
Birthdate: November 6, 1841
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mézin, France
Died: June 22, 1931

Armand Fallières began as a town councillor in Nérac and later became the president of France. Prior to this, he had been the prime minister of France, too, but he was forced to resign after just 21 days, owing to his stand on the expulsion of the pretenders to French throne.

 23 
Jean Casimir-Périer
(Former President of France)
Jean Casimir-Périer
1
Birthdate: November 8, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, 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.

 24 
Roland Bonaparte
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1858
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1924

Roland Bonaparte was the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, who was the brother of Emperor Napoleon I. A geographer and photographer, he was part of the research on the Sami community of Norway and the Australian Aborigines. He also headed the Société de Géographie and the Société Astronomique de France.

 25 
Nguyen Van Thinh
(President)
Nguyen Van Thinh
1
Birthdate: 1888 AD
Birthplace: Vietnam
Died: November 10, 1946

Nguyen Van Thinh had been the first president of Cochinchina, the French controlled part of south Vietnam. Born to an aristocratic Vietnamese family, Thinh was a qualified physician and one of the rare Vietnamese to be granted a French citizenship. He apparently committed suicide while still in office.