Ten most Famous French Characters

by Robbie Doyle on 02-03-2020 in Aritcles1


Joan of Arc one of the top 10 French characters

Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in Rouen by the English on 30 May 1431. 

French and Famous

France has many famous people and characters. Some are real-life people, such as Napoleon and Zinadine Zidane, other, are cartoon characters, such as Pepe le Pew, the cartoon skunk or Asterix, the scourge of ancient Rome. 

We all have our own favourites

10 Fabulously Famous French Faces
There have been a lot of French famous people to emerge over the centuries, so we’ve put together a quick and dirty list of those you absolutely HAVE to know when you travel to France on your gap year, or the locals will put you in the stocks.

1. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

A French heroine and a Roman Catholic saint, Joan claimed to receive heavenly visions that told her to reclaim France from English control during the Hundred Years’ War. She played a key role in bringing Charles VII to the throne, but was captured by the English and burned at the stake in a place called Rouen. She was 19 years old.

2. Nostradamus (1503 – 1566)

You can’t be right all the time. Nostradamus is well known for making dire predictions about the future, usually in such a vague way that a lot of people still think he was right. He was also an accomplished apothecary and helped to treat victims of the plague. Michel de Nostredame, usually Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, who is best known for his book Les Prophéties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains allegedly predicting future events. The book was first published in 1555 and has rarely been out of print since his death

3. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821)

This great general was born in Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s impossible, to sum up, Napoleon in a couple of lines. He was a military and political leader who is widely considered one of the greatest commanders in history – he won so many battles that at one time he controlled most of continental Europe. Basically, don’t mess with Napoleon. Unless you’re the Duke of Wellington. Are you the Duke of Wellington?

4. Louis Vitton (1821 – 1892)

If you wear Louis Vitton you’re probably doing quite well for yourself. He founded the fashion house in 1854 by designing a stackable travel trunk, and today it sells everything from expensive shoes to expensive handbags to expensive books. That might not be great for your backpacking budget. The company is worth over $28 billion.

5. Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)

Another French fashion powerhouse who became famous for her iconic suits, perfumes, and little black dresses. She taught herself to sew after she was orphaned, and turned that skill into a formidable fashion empire. Chanel No. 5, her signature scent, is a bestselling perfume the world over.

6. Brigitte Bardot (1934 – )

A ludicrously popular model thanks her voluptuous figure, Brigitte Bardot went on to have a successful acting career, appearing in films like Viva Maria! And God Created Woman. After she retired from films she became a prominent animal rights campaigner.

7. Andre the Giant (1946 – 1993)

Never has a name been more fitting. Andre the Giant was a pro wrestler who stood at a towering 7’5″ tall and weighed a whopping 525lbs. He was hugely successful in the WWF (he’s in the Hall of Fame), and also had a popular turn in The Princess Bride.

8. Zinedine Zidane (1972 – )

Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, he won the World Cup with France, as well as trophies in Italy and Spain. Popular myth says that he was never once caught offside in his career, something which football fans like to endlessly, pointlessly debate. Later to become a fantastically successful manager with Real Madrid in Spain.

9. Marion Cotillard (1975 – )

Although she’s mainly known for her acting career, Marion Cotillard is also a singer and songwriter. She’s an Oscar winner for her role in La Vie en Rose and has also appeared in blockbusters like Inception and Contagion. In 2014 she was named The Most Bankable French Actress of the 21st Century.

10. Pepe Le Pew

This adorable skunk from the Looney Tunes cartoons was pretty much every French stereotype rolled into one, which maybe explains why he became such a popular character in the USA. Pepe is my own personal favourite. The little skunk falls in love with every unfortunate female who remotely resembles a sow (female skunk). Most of the time it is a pussycat that is unfortunate to walk into or under some white paint.

Some other great Frenchies are as followed:

11. Asterix

Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix is a bande dessinée series about Gaulish warriors, who have adventures and fight the Roman Empire during the era of Julius Caesar. The series first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959.

12. Charles Aznavour. 

Charles Aznavour was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes.

13. Edith Piaf

Édith Piaf was a French singer-songwriter, cabaret performer and film actress noted as France's national chanteuse and one of the country's most widely known international stars. Piaf's music was often autobiographical and she specialized in chanson and torch ballads about love, loss and sorrow.

Mata Hari

Although not French, she will forever be a part of French military history. Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" MacLeod, better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I and executed by firing squad in France. She also refused to wear a blindfold and faced the rifles. She was executed by a French firing squad in a place called Vincennes, this is a commune in the Val-de-Marne department in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 6.7 km from the centre of Paris.

Thanks to Gapyear.com for helping us out with some of these famous French characters. Please pay a visit their wonderful website for more information on many travel destinations.

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