Best French Writers

The Top Ten

1 Jules Verne Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.
2 Voltaire Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation ...read more.

Voltaire of course is even modern today, advanced on his time, like most of French issues.

3 Jean-Jacques Rousseau
4 Marcel Proust Marcel Proust Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922), better known as Marcel Proust, was a French novelist, critic, and essayist. He is considered by English critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.
5 George Sand
6 Victor Hugo Victor Hugo Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. ...read more.
7 Molière Molière Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673), was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. He was the official author of court entertainments under the reign of Louis XIV.
8 Jean-Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic.
9 Honoré de Balzac Honoré de Balzac Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence La Comédie Humaine, which presents a panorama of post-Napoleonic French life, is generally viewed as his magnum opus. ...read more.

There's no contest & I can honestly say I have read just about everything written by all of these authors. Balzac stands like a tower high above them all!

10 André Gide

The Contenders

11 Albert Camus Albert Camus Albert Camus (7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He is best known for such novels as L’Étranger (The Stranger, 1942), La Peste (The Plague, 1947), and La Chute (The Fall, 1956). He received the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature.
12 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry (29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944) was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand ...read more.
13 François Mauriac
14 Émile Zola Émile Zola
15 Romain Gary Romain Gary Romain Gary, born Roman Kacew (21 May [O.S. 8 May] 1914 – 2 December 1980) and also known by pen names such as Émile Ajar, was a French diplomat, novelist, film director and World War II aviator of Litvak origin. He is the only author to have won the Prix Goncourt under two different names.

'Clair de femme' is a very underrated novel. It's a marvelous novel.

16 Charles Perrault

He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales.
The best known of his tales include:
Cendrillon (Cinderella),
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood),
Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots),
La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty),
Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard)... - Yasmina

17 Gustave Flaubert Gustave Flaubert Gustave Flaubert (12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was an influential French novelist who was perhaps the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. ...read more.
18 Louis-Ferdinand Céline
19 Colette
20 Charles Baudelaire Charles Baudelaire Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. ...read more.
21 Stendhal Stendhal Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal (23 January 1783 – 23 March 1842), was a 19th-century French writer. Best known for the novels Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839), he is highly regarded for the acute ...read more.
22 Alexandre Dumas, fils
23 Michel Houellebecq
24 Simone de Beauvoir
25 Théophile Gautier Théophile Gautier Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier (30 August 1811 – 23 October 1872) was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.
26 Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly
27 Guy de Maupassant Guy de Maupassant Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a French writer, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the naturalist school of writers, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms. ...read more.
28 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
29 Marguerite Duras
30 Anatole France Anatole France Anatole France, born François-Anatole Thibault (16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924), was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. ...read more.
31 Edmond Rostand Edmond Rostand Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (1 April 1868 – 2 December 1918) was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is known best for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand's romantic plays contrasted with the naturalistic theatre popular during the late 19th century.
32 Pierre Corneille Pierre Corneille
33 Jean Racine Jean Racine Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine (22 December 1639 – 21 April 1699), was a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France (along with Molière and Corneille), and an important literary figure in the Western tradition.
34 Alexandre Dumas Alexandre Dumas Alexandre Dumas, born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie (24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas, père, was a French writer. His works have been translated into nearly 100 languages, and he is one of the most widely read French authors.
35 René Barjavel
36 Paul Valéry
37 Romain Rolland Romain Rolland Romain Rolland (29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 "as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described ...read more.
38 Alfred de Musset Alfred de Musset Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (11 December 1810 – 2 May 1857) was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist. Along with his poetry, he is known for writing the autobiographical novel La Confession d'un enfant du siècle (The Confession of a Child of the Century).
39 Alphonse de Lamartine Alphonse de Lamartine Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, chevalier de Pratz (21 October 1790 – 28 February 1869), was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic and the continuation of the Tricolore as the flag of France.
40 Arthur Rimbaud Arthur Rimbaud Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a French poet who is known for his influence on modern literature and arts, which prefigured surrealism.
41 Paul Verlaine Paul Verlaine Paul-Marie Verlaine (30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle (turn of the century) in international and French poetry.
42 Guillaume Apollinaire Guillaume Apollinaire Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire (26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918) was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish descent. ...read more.
43 Jean de La Fontaine Jean de La Fontaine Jean de La Fontaine (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) was a famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French ...read more.
44 François-René de Chateaubriand
45 Marquis de Sade
46 Pierre de Marivaux
47 Michel de Montaigne Michel de Montaigne Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre.
48 François Rabelais François Rabelais François Rabelais (between 1483 and 1494 – 9 April 1553) was a French Renaissance writer, humanist, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. ...read more.
49 Boris Vian Boris Vian Boris Vian (10 March 1920 – 23 June 1959) was a French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. ...read more.
50 Madame de La Fayette
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