The world has witnessed many amazingly talented French women. Some have inspired us with their struggle, while some have left us in awe of their beauty and talent. Be it fashion, science, sports or music, there's no stopping these women. Movies have been made, and books have been written in their honor. Their achievements have made them famous not only in their country, but all over the world. Let's take a look at a few such women:
Joan of Arc
An uneducated peasant girl,who rose to lead a troop of French soldiers in war, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc)is considered a symbol of inspiration. When she was 13, she claimed to have seen visions that told her to save her country from the English. She led the French army to several victories during the Hundred Years' War, that finally led to the coronation of Charles VII, as the King of France on July 17, 1429. In 1430, during an attempt to defend the city, Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundians. She was burned by the English at the age of 19. On May 16, 1920 she was declared a saint by Pope Benedict XV. As Saint Joan of Arc, she is popular in the Roman Catholic Church.
The woman behind one of the most reputed international fashion brand, 'Chanel' is Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. She gave the fashion world the 'little black dress'. Her designs and sense of style, that was inspired from men's fashion, remains popular till today. She herself was considered a glamorous fashion icon. However, her roots were quite the opposite. She grew up in an orphanage and took small singing jobs in clubs to earn a living. She started her career in fashion in 1910 by selling hats. She rose to popularity with her signature cardigan jacket and suits. Her popularity was largely due to her relaxed fashion designs, which were a sharp contrast to the corset type of restricted garments, which placed glamor over comfort. She died in 1971 at the age of 87.
Physicist, Marie Curie is best known for her research in radioactivity. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. Born in Warsaw, Curie graduated in Physics and went on to pursue a degree in Mathematics. She discovered the elements polonium and radium. She was given the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903 along with her husband Pierre Curie. After Pierre's death she was offered his chair, making her the first woman professor at Sorbonne. In 1911, she was appointed director of the Institute of Radioactivity. In the same year she was also awarded her second Nobel Prize in Physics. She found the Curie Institute in Paris and Warsaw. She died in 1934, due to overexposure to radiation.
Brigitte is a former actress, singer, model and a human rights activist. She was the first foreign-language actor to get international success. Bardot who is recognized for popularizing bikini in her films, started her career as a model in a fashion show in 1949. Her debut on the big screen was in 1952, with a comedy film, Le Trou Normand (Crazy for Love) She received great attention from the media in the United States, following which her French films were dubbed to be released internationally. Her films established her as a sex siren. She began her career as a singer during the 60s and recorded many popular songs. In 1973, after acting in over 40 films she announced her retirement from acting and took up animal welfare activism. In 1986, she started the Brigitte Bardot Foundation which continues to work for the welfare and protection of animals.
France Gall is a French singer, who rose to fame in the 60s. She has had many chart-topping singles over the years; she has 11 albums to her credit. Daughter of lyricist Robert Gall, France learned to play the guitar and piano at an early age. Her first single "Ne sois pas si bête" ("Don't Be So Stupid") was released when she was just 15; it went on to become a major success. Her first album was released in 1965. In the same year she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, which gained her popularity outside Europe. Her performances were a huge hit with the French audience and many of her singles occupied the top spot in the French charts. She retired from her recording career in 1997 and has been actively undertaking humanitarian work.
Twelve- time world champion, Jeannie Longo is one of the greatest female cyclists of all times. She won her first national title in 1979 and is still active in the sport. Longo started her career as a skier and despite winning several championships switched to cycling. She has four Olympic medals, including a gold medal, which she won in a road race in 1996. She competes in road and track cycle racing events. She is famous for her long career as a cyclist, spanning over 30 years. She won her 57th National Title in 2010 at the French National Championship.
Those were some famous women of France who have made a mark in their chosen field. They have paved the way for many women and have proved that France has no dearth of talent. They continue to be a source of inspiration to many.