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Famous people from France
(1883-08-18 - 1971-01-10 )
, Address in Paris: Hotel Ritz, 15 Place Vendôme
A fashion that does not reach the streets of Paris is not a fashion.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, nicknamed 'Coco', was a famous French fashion designer who greatly contributed to world trends and tastes in terms of chic and elegance. She was born outside Paris to a poor family, and was orphaned at the age of 6 along with her four siblings. Thanks to the generosity of a millionaire officer, she was able to move to Paris when she turned 16, and a few years later she opened her first boutique with women’s hats. In 1921, she introduced her world-famous Chanel No. 5 perfumes. Coco started a new era in fashion, promoting classic but expensive simplicity. Her major inventions were a little black dress and a tweed suit, all labelled with her original logo, a symbol for excellence. She died in Paris at the age of 87, but her name remains alive in the world of celebrities and fashion.
(1840-11-14 - 1926-12-05 )
, Address in Paris: 90 Rue Laffitte, in the 9th arrondissement
France is the only country in the world with a 300-metre flagpole.
Claude Monet was a famous French painter, a founder of Impressionism, and a master of plein-air landscape painting. His notable works can be found on the walls of many Parisian museums and art galleries. Born in Paris, he lived there for only five years, as his parents decided to move to Normandy. He came back to the city in 1858 to study at the Swiss Academy. After staying there for several years, he created his own style and also met and influenced other artists, including his friend Eduard Manet. Later, he worked on a series of paintings depicting the same landscapes or buildings, but at different times of the day and in various weather conditions – 'Impression. Sunrise', 'Haystacks', 'Water Lilies', 'Rouen Cathedral' and 'Houses of Parliament'. His famous home was in the village of Giverny, about 80 kilometres from Paris, and this is where he remained an active painter until his last days.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
(1832-12-15 - 1923-12-27 )
, Address in Paris: Mansion on rue Rabelais
France is the only country in the world with a 300-metre flagpole.
Eiffel was a French engineer and architect, and the most famous tower in Paris bears his name. Born outside the capital, he came to the city to study chemistry at the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. At first, he worked as a project manager for a railway bridge for Charles Nepveu’s company, eventually taking charge of the entire project. 'Eiffel et Cie.' was his own consulting and construction company, which was responsible for several large projects both in and out of France. The engineer also created La Ruche, which is today a Parisian landmark, but which originally served as a wine rotunda. His Eiffel Tower was a major attraction of the International Exposition in 1889. That same year, almost two million people visited it. Another great design from ‘the magician of iron’ was the framework of the Statue of Liberty, a French gift to the United States.
(1899-07-21 - 1961-07-02 )
, Address in Paris: 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.
Ernest Hemingway, the world-famous writer from the United States, first came to Paris at the end of 1921 and stayed at the Hotel Jacob (today the Hotel D'Angleterre) until he moved into his apartment on Cardinal Lemoine Street. The following year he met another American writer, Gertrude Stein, who introduced him to the “Parisian Modern Movement.” He kept returning to this city, which quite fascinated him. Without a doubt, he was a 20th-Century celebrity, a strong personality, and he fought at the front during wartime. He remains especially famous as a journalist and author of such novels as A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Movable Feast (about Paris), and The Old Man and the Sea, along with many short stories. He was honoured with a Pulitzer Prize in 1951 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
(1802-02-26 - 1885-05-22 )
, Address in Paris: Place de Vosces, 3rd and 4th arrondissements
Paris is a sum total. Paris is the ceiling of the human race. All this prodigious city is an epitome of dead and living manners and customs. He who sees Paris, seems to see all history through with the sky and constellations in the intervals.
Victor Hugo was a French novelist, poet and visual artist, and an influential representative of Romanticism. He was brought up mainly by his mother, who moved to Paris in 1803. At the age of 20, he published his first poetry and received a royal pension from Louis XVIII. In 1827, he created his never-staged verse drama 'Cromwell'. Hugo remains famous all over the world as an author of mature fiction, such as 'Les Misérables' and 'Notre Dame de Paris'. The visible effect of the latter was the Notre Dame Cathedral being restored, as the novel much increased its popularity. Both books have been turned into films on several occasions. When Napoleon III came to power in 1851, the author openly spoke against him, and in result lived in exile in Brussels, Jersey and on the Channel Island of Guernsey. He returned to Paris in 1870, where he was treated like a national hero, which he remains to this day.
(1809-01-04 - 1852-01-06 )
, Address in Paris: Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles
Louis Braille contributed greatly to generations of blind people, as he was the one who invented their alphabet for reading and writing, which has been adapted into almost every language. Born in a small town of Coupvray not far from Paris, he was accidentally blinded at the age of four. As a ten-year-old boy, he luckily received a scholarship to attend the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, the first school of its kind in the world. In 1821, influenced by the night-writing code used by soldiers, he began working on his raised-dots system, which he finished at the age of just fifteen. This six-dot solution enabled the recognition of a meaning simply by the touch of a single fingertip. Later, Braille adjusted it to include mathematics and musical texts. He remained at the Institute as a respected teacher, and died at the age of 43. His body now lies in the Pantheon.
(1862-08-22 - 1918-03-25 )
, Address in Paris: Montmartre
The music of this prominent and innovative French composer was widely associated with Impressionism in painting. He was born in St Germain-en-Laye near Paris, learned how to play piano when he was seven, and at the age of eleven was sent to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied until 1884. In the meantime, he gave piano lessons in Russia to the children of Nadezhda von Meck, Thaikovsky’s patron. Later, he studied in Rome at the prestigious Villa de Medici. He travelled a lot around Europe, and met with many talented artists and musicians of his time, including Wagner. Debussy created his own original style, however, concentrating on mood and colour. His major works include operas (such as 'Pelease et Melisande', first performed in 1902), ballets, dramatic works, chamber pieces and songs. He’s also famous for piano pieces such as 'Children’s Corner' and the orchestral work 'The Afternoon of a Faun'.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
(1821-04-09 - 1867-08-31 )
, Address in Paris: Saint-Louis 17 quai d’Anjou, The Hotel Pimodan (now the Hotel Lauzan)
The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvellous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvellous; but we do not notice it.
This influential cult French poet of the 19th Century was born in Paris, the city that inspired many of his masterpieces. After receiving an education at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, he travelled to India and Mauritius for a year. He was fascinated with the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, and decided to work on translating them into English. In 1857, Baudelaire published his most famous collection of poems, 'Les Fleurs du Mal' (The Flowers of Evil), with themes of death and vivid descriptions contrasting between ugliness and beauty. As part of the Bohemian scene, he gathered in cafés with other artists to discuss and express ideas about art. The Brasserie in the rue des Martyrs was one such noisy, dimly-lit spots where he met with Murger, Courbet and others. For years, he lived in poverty, and eventually became addicted to alcohol and opium. Appreciated much after his death, he’s buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris, and his tomb is one of the most frequently visited ones.