France is a country that shines internationally thanks to the Eiffel Tower, the traditional baguette and all the beautiful kids who become known abroad. There are a host of celebrities that the whole world knows and admires, but some French people are much more famous beyond the borders than within their own country.
1. Dominique Ansel, New York’s most famous French pastry chef
Dominique Ansel is a French pastry chef who in 2013 became one of the most famous pastry chefs in New York. In his bakery, Dominique Ansel Bakery, he serves traditional French pastries and pastries but also desserts of his invention such as the Cronut, a mix between a croissant and a donut, or the DKA, a revisited kouign-amann. He also opened a boutique in Hong Kong, won a host of prestigious awards and won the respect of Americans.
2. Muriel Barbery, a talented novelist
Muriel Barbery is a French author who is best known in France for her novel The elegance of the Hedgehog who has won numerous literary awards. Abroad, she was already known before that since her first novel, A delicacybecame an international best-seller under the name of Gourmet Rhapsody while it sold little in France. The book is translated into 12 languages and the author has many English-speaking fans.
3. Air, the French touch less known than Daft Punk
If you don’t know Air, they are a French electronic music group from the 90s. They are particularly popular in England, Japan, and the United States. In addition to their albums, they are known for composing the soundtrack of The Virgin Suicidesa very good film by Sofia Coppola.
4. Ludo Lefebvre, the chef from Los Angeles
Ludo Lefebvre is a Michelin-starred French chef who has lived in Los Angeles for 25 years, where he has become a real celebrity. He owns several restaurants, wins awards in spades, appears on super famous TV shows and has an English-only Wikipedia page.
5. Hélène Rollès from the series Hélène and the boys
Go find out why, Hélène Rollès from the series Helen and the boys is a huge star star in China. For the Chinese, the song My name is Helene is a cult French reference and many fly to see her sing on stage. If you want an explanation, it’s probably because “My name is” are the first words you learn in a new language.
6. Fabio Quartararo, a pilote de génie
Fabio Quartararo is a French motorcycle rider living in Spain where he is a real star when he is only 23 years old. The young driver, who started the championships at 15, already has 12 victories and 31 podiums to his credit.
7. Tahiti 80, stars from home
Tahiti 80 is a group of French people from Rouen who became super fashionable all over the world in the early 2000s. Everywhere, except in France. They are especially famous in the United States and in Japan where they chained the immense festivals of rock. It must be weird to be known in the USA and to become almost anonymous again at home.
8. Jean-Michel Jarre, the denied musician
We don’t really know why we don’t like Jean-Michel Jarre but we can’t help it. Foreigners adore him and adore him and we don’t care, we don’t care about his concerts and we don’t even listen to his songs. Dear citizens of the world, we let you buy his albums by the millions, we prefer Jul (by far).
9. Jacques Cousteau, a great explorer
Commander Cousteau is far from unknown in France, of course, but he is apparently just as well known abroad to the point of being a reference in films and series. An oceanographic explorer, he revolutionized modern diving by co-inventing the regulator, a mechanism for breathing the air contained in the scuba tank.
10. Carlos Ghosn, even better known in Japan than in France
Everyone remembers Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, and the whole affair of financial embezzlement concerning him. Those who remember it better than us are the Japanese who let him flee the country in a musical instrument trunk. It’s still so ridiculous many years later.