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Icons of France - Finalists

Who is your ultimate icon of France

Over the last three weeks you've been voting for your most iconic figures from six fields of human excellence; politics, entertainment, art and literature, science and discovery, fashion and design and sport.

Voting has now closed.

We've counted your votes and compiled our list of finalists and we're handing it back to you to vote for who you think is France's ultimate icon.

Remember, don't just vote for your favourite, consider the following:

  • Legacy - how have they been remembered/how will they be remembered?
  • Achievement and contribution - what did/have they achieved in the lifetime and how has that contributed towards our ideas and society in general?
  • Impact - how big an impact have they left?
  • Influence - have they influenced society and changed modern social attitudes and ideologies?

You are in control. You decide who is crowned an icon. 

Meet the finalists

  1. Napoleon Bonaparte - Leader
  2. Edith Piaf - Entertainer
  3. Claude Monet - Artists & Writers
  4. Marie Curie - Scientists & Inventors
  5. Gabrielle Chanel - Fashion Designers
  6. Zinedine Zidane - Sports Stars

Napoleon Bonaparte


To some he was a natural if despotic, leader who laid the groundwork for a modern Europe. Others saw him as responsible for incalculable misery, greater than any other before Hitler: 6 million dead over 17 years of war and a bankrupt nation. Either way, he overplayed his hand, though his many reforms and enlightened, liberal innovations away from the battlefield helped shape the France we see today.

Édith Piaf


As a specialist in chanson-style torch ballads about love and loss, Piaf had no equal. Her back story was painful and excoriating and undoubtedly contributed to the authenticity of her songs and writing.

Claude Monet


Monet’s work gave a name to the Impressionist art movement and helped transform art by challenging the conventions of the past.

Marie Curie


Her work pioneered x-rays in surgery and she even drove war-time ambulances carrying such equipment to the front lines herself. 

A woman of firsts, Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the first person and only woman to win twice and the only person to win in two different sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris and the first woman to be interred on her own merit in the Panthéon in Paris.

Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel

Fashion Designer

Her timeless style will never go out of fashion and she helped women say farewell to the frills, fuss and constraints of earlier eras.

Her forward-thinking masculine take on womens fashion changed social attitudes and set a precident for years to follow. She was also the first couture house to produce it's own scent; Chanel No 5 which continues to be the world's most famous and best selling fragrance.

"The feminine eternal is forever defined by the house of Chanel"

Zinedine Zidane

Sports Star

Led France to victory in the 1998 World Cup and named best European player of the past 50 years by UEFA.

Voting has now closed.