Born to working-class parents, Marguerite Alibert initially sang at local bars and worked as a prostitute. She later became Prince Edward’s (later King Edward VIII of the UK) courtesan. She shot her second husband, Ali Fahmy, to death at Savoy Hotel but got away by showcasing herself as a victim of brutality.
Known as the Lioness of Brittany, Jeanne de Clisson was born a noblewoman of France but later turned into a pirate. After her third husband, Olivier IV de Clisson, was executed for treason, she unleashed her terror upon the French royalty by killing the crew of French ships mercilessly.
Madame de Brinvilliers was a French aristocrat who was sentenced to death by the French government after being accused of killing her father and brothers to inherit their estates. Speculated of having poisoned more than 30 sick people in order to test out her poisons, Madame de Brinvilliers' life, killings, and execution inspired many works of art.
Marie-Fortunée Lafarge, a beautiful and cultured French woman, gained notoriety for being tried and convicted of murdering her husband by arsenic-poisoning. Her trial generated much interest and curiosity and became a cause célèbre leading many to arrive from across Europe to witness it. The case had a great-impact on the French society with spectators divided into pro- and anti-Marie factions.
Daughter of publishing tycoon, late Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell is a socialite infamous for her involvement with the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Charged with sex trafficking of minor girls, she is under investigation by the US Virgin Islands Department of Justice.
French socialite Françoise Dior was the niece of world-renowned designer Christian Dior. However, the heiress later became a Nazi sympathizer and married neo-Nazi figure and Holocaust denier Colin Jordan. She was associated with the National Socialist Movement but eventually lost most of her fortune and died in oblivion.
Hayat Boumeddiene is a French woman who is currently being sought by the police as a suspected abettor of Amedy Coulibaly, the main suspect in the Montrouge shooting, which resulted in the death of a policeman. Boumeddiene, who absconded in 2015, was convicted in absentia of financing terrorism by a court in 2020 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
French sisters Christine and Léa Papin, who were serving as live-in-maids, gained notoriety for and were convicted of murdering their employer's wife and daughter. The incident had a profound-impact on the community and was much debated by the intelligentsia, with some considering it as a case of class-struggle. Several works including plays, films and publications were inspired by the case.
Known for committing one of the bloodiest murders in France, French maid Léa Papin, along with her sister, Christine Papin, also inspired discussions on class struggle. They killed Léonie and Geneviève Lancelin, the wife and daughter of their employer, who would often ill-treat the 2 sisters.
French sorceress and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin, also known as La Voisin, mostly catered to clients from the French elite class. She provided poison to help her clients kill their enemies and almost succeeded in killing King Louis XIV of France on the orders of Madame de Montespan.
Veronique Courjault is a French woman and murderer who killed three of her newborn babies. As it turned out, her husband didn't know about her pregnancies as she kept them a secret through a process called denial of pregnancy. In 2009, Veronique Courjault was found guilty of all three murders and was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment.
Jacqueline Sauvage was a French woman who was convicted of killing her husband Norbert Marot. Sauvage shot her husband three times in the back with a hunting rifle on 10 September 2012, the day after their son had committed suicide. Jacqueline Sauvage stated that her husband had abused her, their daughters, and possibly their son sexually and physically.