Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Choose your greatest Frenchman 

A specially selected group of France 2 channel viewers has chosen the 100 greatest Frenchmen and women of all time. Positions 100 to 11 have all been finalized, as has been the top 10, though not their final order yet: Charles de Gaulle, scientists Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur, comedians Coluche and Bourvil, writers Victor Hugo and Moliere, singer Edith Piaf, explorer Jacques Cousteau, and France's favorite priest and charity worker Abbe Pierre, at 92, the only living contender (there's an opening here for snide remarks that there aren't any great Frenchmen anymore, but in fairness we should remember that greatness is a matter of history and hindsight).

Politicians and leaders don't fare well in the ranking. Napoleon, Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Robespierre, Mitterand and Chirac all linger outside the top 10. As the "Guardian"
writes, "the full list contains 90 men and 10 women. Sixty-eight of the candidates are dead, and 32 alive. Even in a country which turns philosophers into household names, the world of showbusiness comfortably tops the French poll with 44 representatives, while the arts and literature muster 22, politics 17 and sport just eight."

Polish press is having a
field day (link in Polish) that Marie Curie, who was actually Polish (Maria Sklodowska-Curie to use her full name) is more popular than Napoleon. It is also putting its money on de Gaulle getting the number one position, partly because similar surveys in Germany and Great Britain have previously come up with Konrad Adenauer and Winston Churchill as the greatest German and Brit respectively.

Who's your pick for the Greatest Frenchperson of all time? Who undeservedly missed out on top 10? This
little guy? Or maybe her? Or maybe someone else entirely.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?