Some famous figures

Numerous inhabitants of Paris are illustrious artists, researchers, writers, politicians, etc. The capital of charm and light is a veritable hive of intellectuals and creative types…

Below are some famous Parisian figures who were known variously for their genius, their charisma, their artistic sense, or simply for their tenacity.

You can find more information on these and other famous figures on the free online encyclopaedia: wikipedia.



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Napoléon Bonaparte (15th August 1769 – 5th May 1821), General of the Revolution, he governed France from the end of 1799 and was the first Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814 under the name Napoleon I. He conquered and governed the larger part of continental Europe and placed his brothers and his generals on the thrones of several European kingdoms: Spain, Naples, Westphalia, Holland and Sweden.

Unable to put a stop to the cycle of war that France had been leading since 1792, conquests adding to conquests, Napoleon saw his empire crumble barely ten years after its emergence. All that remains today is the great body of administrative reforms that were also undertaken by this uncommon man.

Any attempt to write a neutral account of this character is a bit of a challenge. According to historian Steven Englund, “the most suitable tone (…) to use when speaking of Napoleon would be one of admiration bordering on astonishment and one of constant disapproval bordering on sadness.”

Louis XIV

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Louis XIV (5th September 1638 – 1st September 1715) was, from the 14th May 1643 until his death, King of France and Navarre. The third King of France from the house of Bourbon, of the Capetian dynasty. To this day, no head of state has reigned longer than he.


Victor HUGO

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He was born in Besançon in 1802, but spent his childhood in Paris. He was influenced by trips to Naples and Spain on which he accompanied his father, a general. In 1819 he founded a magazine with his brothers, Conservateur littéraire (the Literary Conservative), which drew attention to his talent. In the same year, he won the competition of the Académie des Jeux Floraux. His first collection of poems, Odes, appeared in 1821, when he was just twenty years old. It was with Cromwell, published in 1827, that he would make his breakthrough. From 1826 to 1837, he frequently sojourned to the Château des Roches in Bièvres, owned by Bertin l’Aîné, director of the Journal des Débats. Over the course of these visits he would meet Berlioz, Chateaubriand, Liszt, Giacomo Meyerbeer and compose his famous collection of poems Feuilles d'Automne (Autumn Leaves).
Under the 2nd Empire, opposed to Napléon III, he lived in exile in Jersey, then in Guernsey and later in Brussels. He was one of the only exiles to refuse an amnesty that was decided on some time afterwards (“and if there remains only one, then I shall be he”). Distraught at the loss of his daughter Léopoldine at Villequier in 1843, he recorded his spiritual experiences in Jersey in a strange work called Les tables tournantes de Jersey (The Turning Tables of Jersey).

In conformance with his wishes, Hugo’s remains were interred in the Conformément à ses dernières volontés, c'est dans le corbillard des pauvres Panthéon. His coffin stayed for several days under the Arc de Triomphe, during which time an estimated three million people came to pay him homage for the last time.


Edith PIAF

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Édith Piaf, born Édith Giovanna Gassion 19th December 1915 in Paris, died 10th October 1963 in Plascassier (commune de Grasse), Alpes-Maritimes, France, was a French chanteuse. Her remains were brought to Paris, where her death was only announced on the 11th of October, the official date of her decease.

She was buried in Père Lachaise cemetry in Paris before an enormous crowd. To this day, her tomb remains one of the most visited in the entire world. An extraordinary personality, she remains the most renowned French chanteuse in the world. Pay a visit to the online exhibition The Conquests of Piaf (le music-hall). Her song Hymne à l’amour is the basis of Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s film Toutes ces belles promesses with Valérie Crunchant and Jeanne Balibar. Molière, Luc BESSON, Isabelle ADJANI, Catherine DENEUVE, Michel PLATINI, Gérard Depardieu, Picasso, Monet, and many others known for their talent, their knowledge or their innate artistic sense can be learned about on wikipedia.