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View Poll Results: Who was the greatest French person in history ?

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  • Louis XIV

    0 0%
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    0 0%
  • Voltaire

    1 11.11%
  • Louis David

    0 0%
  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    4 44.44%
  • Victor Hugo

    1 11.11%
  • Alexandre Dumas

    0 0%
  • Louis Pasteur

    1 11.11%
  • Jules Verne

    0 0%
  • Georges Bizet

    0 0%
  • Gustave Eiffel

    0 0%
  • Auguste Rodin

    1 11.11%
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir

    0 0%
  • Auguste and Louis Lumiティre

    0 0%
  • Coco Chanel

    0 0%
  • Jean Monnet

    0 0%
  • Charles de Gaulle

    0 0%
  • Jean-Paul Sartre

    0 0%
  • Jacques Cousteau

    0 0%
  • Edith Piaf

    1 11.11%
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Thread: Greatest French people ever ?

  1. #1
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    Post Greatest French people ever ?



    BBC News : French top 100 reveals surprises

    Quote Originally Posted by BBC
    The French have been voting to choose their greatest compatriot of all time, prompting a few shocks and surprises.
    ...
    Top 10

    Charles de Gaulle
    Marie Curie
    Louis Pasteur
    Coluche
    Bourvil
    Victor Hugo
    Moliere
    Edith Piaf
    Jacques Cousteau
    Abbe Pierre
    I don't know why so many French people still regard de Gaulle so highly.

    It's difficult to mix politicians, artists and athletes, so here is my ranking per category :

    Top monarchs :

    Napoleon Bonaparte
    Louis XIV
    Philip IV
    Francis I
    Henry IV

    Top painters and sculptors:

    Louis David
    Auguste Rodin
    Renoir
    Toulouse-Lautrec
    Cezanne
    Gauguin
    Monet
    Manet
    Matisse

    Top architects:

    Gustave Eiffel
    Viollet-le-Duc
    Vauban
    Le Corbusier

    Top composers:

    Bizet
    Hector Berlioz
    Camille Saint-Saens
    Jacques Offenbach
    Claude Debussy
    Jean Philippe Rameau
    Jean-Michel Jarre

    Top writers:

    Victor Hugo
    Jules Verne
    Alexandre Dumas
    Gustave Flaubert
    Emile Zola
    Moliere
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    Charles Baudelaire
    Arthur Rimbaud
    Francois Rabelais
    Guy de Maupassant
    Marcel Proust
    Jean de La Fontaine

    Top philosophers :

    Voltaire
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    Jean-Paul Sartre
    Denis Diderot
    Rene Descartes
    Albert Camus

    Top scientists and intellectuals:

    Marie Curie
    Louis Pasteur
    Auguste and Louis Lumière (inventors of the cinema)
    Montgolfier brothers
    Jacques Cousteau
    Claude Levi-Strauss
    Blaise Pascal
    Jean-Francois Champollion
    Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier

    Top actors/actresses & filmmakers:

    Jean Reno
    Christian Clavier
    Luc Besson
    Louis de Funese
    Jean Gabin
    Bourvil
    Jean-Paul Belmondo
    Catherine Deneuve
    Alain Delon
    Francois Truffaut
    Jean-Luc Godard

    Top designers:

    Coco Chanel
    Christian Dior
    Yves Saint-Laurent
    Jean-Paul Gaultier
    Edouard de Givenchy
    Pierre Cardin

    Others

    Pierre de Coubertin - initiator of the modern Olympic Games
    Jean Monnet - one of the founding fathers of the EEC and EU
    Jacques Delors - 3x President of the European Commission
    Last edited by Maciamo; 18-03-05 at 04:07.
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    What, no Vanessa Paradis?

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    i will have to had:
    composer:
    Maurice Ravel
    Jean-Jacques Goldman
    writer:
    Honore (de) balzac
    scientists and intellectuals:
    Henri Becquerel
    philosophers :
    Lacan
    actors/actresses & filmmakers:
    Fernandel
    Vincent Cassel


    Lacan,
    Abel,
    Fei,
    Kim,
    Grahf,
    Id


    I had so many names...

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    Maicamo, I think your list is excellent. Was very happy to see a lot of those names on your lists.
    You have bewitched me, body and soul...

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    What an interesting list.

    Sorry, but I couldn't help noticing Jean-Michel Jarre ranking along with great classical composers as Debussy, Bizet, Berlioz and Offenbach. Jean-Michel Jarre must be proud!!

    A note: Pachelbel is not French.

    He was born in Nurnberg, and worked in Erfurt and Stuttgart. As far as I know, he didn't have a base in Paris, or have studied at the conservatory in Paris. I think Offenbach studied in Paris, and Debussy, Berlioz and Bizet had bases in Paris.

    Pachelbel is one of my favourite classical composers, I especially love his "Kanon Suite," which is of course played at many weddings nowadays.
    I am a great classical music lover, but my faves are not from France, sorry.

    I love Smetana (Czech), Sibelius (Finn), Lizst (Hungary/Austria). I also like Bach and Vivaldi.

    Anyhow, the people listed in the other categories are truly great, and I can only agree that many painted, wrote and designed according to my taste..

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    Excellent list indeed!

    I would just like to know according to which criteria the list of top monarchs is ranked. Adding Napoleon on top implies that it must be the number of people butchered in wars, countries invaded and the intensity of misery brought over Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    I would just like to know according to which criteria the list of top monarchs is ranked. Adding Napoleon on top implies that it must be the number of people butchered in wars, countries invaded and the intensity of misery brought over Europe.
    Napoleon spread the ideas of the 18th century Enlightenment throughout Europe, reform several of these countries legal and administrative system. He was the most charimastic leader France has ever had (making de Gaulle look like a clown in comparison), the greatest military strategist, the most beloved monarch, and ruled over the most powerful empire France has ever had (the the biggest because of later African colonies though). But Napoleon's reign also marked a sort of French golden age, a bit like Victoria's reign in the UK after that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Napoleon spread the ideas of the 18th century Enlightenment throughout Europe, reform several of these countries legal and administrative system. He was the most charimastic leader France has ever had (making de Gaulle look like a clown in comparison), the greatest military strategist, the most beloved monarch, and ruled over the most powerful empire France has ever had (the the biggest because of later African colonies though). But Napoleon's reign also marked a sort of French golden age, a bit like Victoria's reign in the UK after that.
    Lolol, you must have missed my sarcastic undertone. I'm aware of the impetus he had on scientific and legal development, and I am absolutely sure that he is still revered in France, but where I come from he is seen as a foreign invader and ego-centric maniac who wrought political havoc on most of Europe.

    My favourite episode in his life: the expedition to Egypt in 1798.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    Lolol, you must have missed my sarcastic undertone. I'm aware of the impetus he had on scientific and legal development, and I am absolutely sure that he is still revered in France, but where I come from he is seen as a foreign invader and ego-centric maniac who wrought political havoc on most of Europe.
    I know. I was just mentioning what made him different from a king like Louis XIV or Louis XV, who also wrought havoc most of Europe, not least the War of Spanish Sucession and 7 Years' War. Henry IV's war of religions or (Saint !) Louis IX's crusade were hardly better. But I had to make a list of great monarchs, and the others have less positive aspects in the balance.

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    I don't think I could improve on the list at all ! Even the painters were in about the right order for me ... although, I might have shoved Renoir up a notch or two !

    (Of course, you forgot pop-singer Francoise Hardy - I fell in love with her, around 1962 ............. )

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    One thing is certain, there were great many great french men, what bout Francoisss? he built la defense ;)

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    movie star Alain Delon was popular among the Japanese back in the '70s

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    Another Great French

    Good list, and I would like to add under Top scientists and intellectuals:

    Ferdinand de Saussure (b.1856-d.1913) laid the founding principles of modern linguistics in his tripartite lectures from 1906 to 1911 at University of Geneva. He published only 600 pgs during his lifetime, and from the lecture notes were compiled Cours de linguistique general published posthumous 1915. He had studied the Proto-Indo-European vocalic system at Leipzig Univ., taught Germanic languages, comparative linguistics, and Sanskrit at Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes 1881-1891, and Sanskrit at Univ. of Genev until 1907. He also seved as secretary of the Linguistic Society of Paris 1881-1891.

    Wade baskin, in his Preface to the English translation, Course in General Linguistics, 1959, said;

    "The nineteenth century had a fragmentary approach to reality which prevented scholars from getting around beyond the immediate facts in matters of speech...The atomistic conception of speech, reflected in the historical studies of the comparative philologists, had to give way to the functional and structural conception of language. Saussure was among the first to see that language is a self-contained system whose interdependent parts function and acquire value through their relationship to the whole."
    Last edited by lexico; 20-03-05 at 01:40. Reason: title
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    Most Beautiful

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    As an American my vote of course goes to Gilbert du Montier, The Marquis de Lafayette.

    Did you know that he is one of only 6 people to ever be granted honorary American Citizenship? The other ones being Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa, Raul Wallenberg, William Penn and his wife Hannah.

    When he died in 1834 there was a national day of mourning and both the House and Senate draped their chambers in black. Soil from the American Bunker Hill monument was buried with him in his casket.

    In the House of Represenatives there is a full body portrait of Lafayette - it is directly to the left of the portrait of the founder of our nation, George Washington.

    When General John J. Pershing arrived in France with the American Expeditionary Army during World War I, he exclaimed: "Lafayette, we are here."

    The United States Flag has flown over his grave since World War I, repeatedly replaced when tattered. When Paris was occupied by the Germans during World War II, the flag over his grave was never disturbed.

    Perhaps the most permanent effect that Lafayette has had in this country, beyond his heroism on the battlefield, is the number of places named for him in the United States. The name "Lafayette" or related names like "Fayette" are found almost 400 times in the United States.

    So anyway, while there may be greater Frenchmen, I think it should suffice to say that no other child of France is more beloved and respected in the United States than General Lafayette.


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    I have added a poll (names in chronological order). It's a tough one since you have to choose only one person in the list. It was hard for me to choose between Voltaire, Napoleon and Jean Monnet, but I opted for Napoleon for the reasons explained here.

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    I don't think that choices like Jean Reno or Luc Besson should belong to a poll for the greatest French person in history.
    However I would perhaps add people like Tocqueville, Joan of Arc or maybe Zinedine Zidane.

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    Charles-テ嬰ouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 窶 August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-born French architect, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. source

    Where do you draw the line for qualification of being French, we could question even Napoleon as he for most of his life saw himself as a foreigner in France? If he hadn't been outcast from Corsica he'd never have been forced to embrace France.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post

    Charles-テ嬰ouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 窶 August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-born French architect, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. source

    Where do you draw the line for qualification of being French, we could question even Napoleon as he for most of his life saw himself as a foreigner in France? If he hadn't been outcast from Corsica he'd never have been forced to embrace France.
    Sorry for I hate that kind of architecture so bad I think it should be considered a crime against humanity ! Anything with apparent concrete should be prohibited (otherwise what's the point of have laws in a country; we might as well kill each others with machetes and become cannibals - that would be pretty much in the same line).

    How do they have the nerve to call that architecture :

    Sainte Marie de La Tourette in Lyon, by Le Corbusier

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    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    I don't think that choices like Jean Reno or Luc Besson should belong to a poll for the greatest French person in history.
    However I would perhaps add people like Tocqueville, Joan of Arc or maybe Zinedine Zidane.
    Joan of Arc perhaps, but Zidane isn't ethnically French by Algerian Kabyle, and if popularity is any indication for who should be in the poll than Jean Reno and Luc Besson are far more famous than Tocqueville, who didn't even make the top 100 in the national survey in 2005. I just tried to balance the list by category. I would happily have chosen Diderot, Tocqueville, Lavoisier, Berlioz or Viollet-le-Duc instead of Jean Reno or Luc Besson. It's very hard to make such a poll with only 20 entries and make everybody happy.

    But after some consideration I have replaced Jean Reno and Luc Besson by Charles de Gaulle et Edith Piaff because they were both elected to the top 10 by the French. It might be safer to get rid of anybody who is still alive (or has been dead for less than a generation) for a ranking of historical people.

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    But after some consideration I have replaced Jean Reno and Luc Besson by Charles de Gaulle et Edith Piaff because they were both elected to the top 10 by the French.


    This is surely more appropriate

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    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    As for the "French ethnicity", Louis XIV, Gustave Eiffel, Napoleon, Edith Piaf and Alexander Dumas had all non French origin.
    It depends on what is considered ethnically French. Louis XIV had mixed European blood like all monarchs, but still quite a lot of French ancestry.

    Napoleon was Corsican, which is part of France (now). He and Edith Piaff had some Italian ancestry too, but borders shift all the time, and Italian ancestry is fairly close to French ancestry in many regards (mostly a mixture of Palaeolithic European and Neolithic West Asian with a strong Celtic and Italic overlay and some Greek and Germanic admixture, and a lot of migration between the two regions at least since Roman times).

    Gustave Eiffel had some German ancestry, but once again that is very common among the French, especially in the North-East.

    Alexandre Dumas was Creole French-African blood through his mother, which makes him the least French of all the people in the list, but he was still predominantly of French ancestry.

    Zidane is 0% ethnically French, no matter how you look at it.

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    Renテゥ Descartes



    Renテゥ Descartes
    (31 March 1596 窶 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day.

    At the age of eight, he entered the Jesuit Collティge Royal Henry-Le-Grand at La Flティche. After graduation, he studied at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalaurテゥat and Licence in law in 1616, in accordance with his father's wishes that he should become a lawyer.

    In 1622 he returned to France, and during the next few years spent time in Paris and other parts of Europe. It was during a stay in Paris that he composed his first essay on method: Regulae at Directionem Ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). source

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post


    Renテゥ Descartes
    (31 March 1596 窶 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day.

    At the age of eight, he entered the Jesuit Collティge Royal Henry-Le-Grand at La Flティche. After graduation, he studied at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalaurテゥat and Licence in law in 1616, in accordance with his father's wishes that he should become a lawyer.

    In 1622 he returned to France, and during the next few years spent time in Paris and other parts of Europe. It was during a stay in Paris that he composed his first essay on method: Regulae at Directionem Ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). source
    Edao, you have a knack for choosing French people that I don't like. Descartes' philosophy has been widely discredited in the 19th and especially 20th century. His most fundamental ideas can all be rejected by modern neuropsychology, as brilliantly explained by Antonio Damasio's book Descartes' error, which destroys the idea of an immaterial thinking soul/spirit.

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    There is also John Calvin but as you know he was rather influential abroad than in France itself

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