G.G de la Tourette
King Francis I
Rigault de Genouilly
Judith Cresson - First
Napoleon - Last days
Pierre-Louis-Charles Rigault de Genouilly (1807- 1873) - Born in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. Nineteenth-century French admiral. CRIMEAN WAR - 1853, he took part in the bombardment of Odessa on 22 April 1854, one of the early naval actions of the Crimean War. Promoted rear admiral in 1854, he served with distinction in the siege of Sebastopol, where he was in command of the French marines (fusiliers-marins).
Second Opium War - In 1857 Rigault de Genouilly sailed aboard the frigate Némésis to join the naval armada assembled by Admiral Léonard Charner for the Second Opium War, and was placed in command of the French naval division. During the campaign he took part in the blockade of Macau and the capture of Canton. After this success he served at the capture of the Peiho forts and accompanied the Anglo-French expedition to Tientsin.
Vietnam War - Painting: The Capture of Saigon, 17 February 1859, a painting by Antoine Morel-Fatio (official French naval painter). - 1857 - in response to the execution of two Spanish missionaries by the Vietnamese emperor and the failure of a diplomatic mission, Rigault de Genouilly was authorised by the French emperor Napoleon III to launch a punitive expedition against Vietnam. In September 1858 a joint French and Spanish expedition under his command landed at Da Nang and captured the city. Then Rigault de Genouilly sailed south for Saigon with a powerful naval flotilla and a Franco-Spanish landing force. On 17 February 1859, after forcing the river defences and destroying a series of forts and stockades along the Saigon river, Rigault de Genouilly captured Saigon. He was the Minister for the French Navy under Napoleon III. He died in Barcelona in May 1873 aged 66 years.
Alain Marie Juppé (born 15 August 1945) Member of The Republicans political party and, although a popular candidate to the 2017 French Presidency but was ultimately defeated at the Républican Primary of 2016. Despite a long, rocky political career, Juppé has campaigned as an outsider, winning support from disappointed Sarkozy supporters, centrists and young voters who have no memory of his disastrous term as prime minister.
He was Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac, during which period he faced major strikes that paralised the country. His plan for Welfare State reform caused the biggest social conflict since May 68 and, under duress, abandoned it. He became the most unpopular Prime minister of the Fifth Republic (challenged only by Édith Cresson).
In 2004, Alain Juppé was tried for the felony of abuse of public funds, when he was head of the RPR party (Rally for the Republic) which illegally used personnel provided by the City of Paris for running its operations. He was convicted and sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail sentence, the deprivation of civic rights for five years, and the deprivation of the right to run for political office for 10 years. He appealed the decision, whereby his disqualification from holding elected office was reduced to one year and the suspended sentence cut to 14 months. The court commented: .....however, Mr Juppé has given himself for many years to the service of the State, while he did obtain no personal enrichment from these crimes he committed for the benefit of his political party, for which he should not be a scapegoat... As a consequence, Alain Juppé resigned as mayor of Bordeaux but was re-elected as Mayor of Bordeaux in October 2006, suggesting that voters had forgiven him for the conviction.
In March 2009, he criticized Pope Benedict XVI over his comments that condoms will only worsen the AIDS crisis, saying that as a Christian, he felt that such declarations were totally unacceptable. In 2011, interviewed on the public television channel France 2, Mr Juppé strongly advocated for the creation of a European federation to respond to the Euro crisis.
François Mitterrand 1916-1996 (born and buried in Jarnac)
21st President of France. In the presidential election of 1981, Mitterrand became the first socialist President of the Fifth Republic, the longest serving president and his government became the first left-wing government in 23 years. He served two consecutive presidential terms: 26 May 1981 - 26 May 1995. His major achievements came internationally, especially in the European Economic Community. He supported the enlargement of the Community to include Spain and Portugal (which both joined in 1986). In 1986 he helped the Single European Act come into effect. He worked well with Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor and, considerably improved Franco-German relations. Together, in 1982, they fathered the Maastricht Treaty thereafter ratified by referendum. Image right: French President Francois Mitterand and Queen Elizabeth II prepare to cut the ribbon at the new terminal for the Channel Tunnel at Coquelles, France.
Margaret Thatcher was against a German reunification and so was Mitterrand although he believed that reunification was ultimately inevitable. So when Helmut Kohl, then German Bundeskanzler, asked Mitterrand to agree to the German reunification Mitterrand told Kohl he would support reunification only if Germany would abandon the Deutsche Mark and introduce the Euro - Helmut Kohl accepted the deal.
Quote: The problem is that the East is producing missiles and the West is producing pacifists.
Marie-Ségolene Royal, is known as Segolene Royal. Born 22 September 153 in a French military base in Dakar - now Senegal). Ségolene Royal is a French politician and prominent member of the Socialist Party. She was President of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council from 2004 to 2014. She was the Socialist candidate in the 2007 presidential election, becoming the first woman in France to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major party. She lost to Nicolas Sarkozy. Royal has been a long-standing critic of violence on television. She has voiced opinions in the past linking youth crime to exposure to pornography and television violence. François Hollande, the current President of France, is her former partner of 30 years and the
father of her four children. Royal was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.
Positions held in government:
Currently, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy since 2014
Minister of Family, Children and Disabled persons : 2001–2002.
Minister of Family and Children : 2000–2001.
Minister of School Education : 1997–2000.
Minister of Environment : 1992–1993.
Robert "Bob" Denard (7 April 1929 – 13 October 2007)
was a French soldier and mercenary. Sometimes known under the aliases "Gilbert Bourgeaud" and "Saïd Mustapha Mahdjoub". A soldier of fortune who profited from the upheavals of Africa of the 1960s. He was known for having performed various jobs in support of Françafrique (France's sphere of influence in its former colonies in Africa) for Jacques Foccart, co-ordinator of President Charles de Gaulle's African policy. Having served with the French Navy in the Algerian War, the ardently anti-communist Denard took part in the Katanga secession effort in the 1960s and subsequently participated in approximately 20 coups or attempted coups in Angola, Benin, Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Zaire, as well as in Iran and Yemen. His raid on Stanleyville, Congo, in which he rescued white civilians encircled by rebels in 1964 is said to have inspired the film The Wild Geese with Roger Moore.
Between 1975 and 1995, he participated in four coup attempts in the Comoro Islands. It is widely believed that his adventures had the implicit support of the French state, even after the 1981 election of the French Socialist Party candidate, François Mitterrand, despite moderate changes in France's policy in Africa. Although he was twice convicted in France for his role in coups (in Marxist-controlled Benin in 1977 and in the Comoros in 1995) his sentences were suspended.
Born a Roman Catholic, Denard converted first to Judaism, then to Islam, and finally back to Catholicism again. He was polygamously married seven times, and fathered eight children.
Georges Gilles de la Tourette (1857-1904)
In 1885, Dr Georges Albert Edouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette, a pioneering French neurologist first described the condition "Tourette Syndrome" - a neurological disorder characterised by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalisations called tics.
He was born in Saint-Gervais-les-Trois-Clochers (near Loudun) in the Vienne (86) department. He studied medicine in Poitiers before moving to Paris.
In 1893, he was wounded by a gun shot by one of his old woman patient who claimed that she was hypnotised against her will. Near 1902, his mental state deteriorated and he was subsequently interned in a psychiatric hospital in Switzerland where he died in 1904.
François Hollande, born in Rouen, 1954.
He joined the Socialist Party in 1979. Hollande was then elected mayor of Tulle in 2001 and held the post until 2008. He went on to win a National Assembly seat in 1988. He was made chair of the Socialist Party and beat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to become France's 24th president in 2012 and Co-Prince of Andorra.
While a student at Ecole Nationale d'Administration University, Hollande met and began dating Ségolène Royal. They lived as domestic partners but did not marry, having four children together. Royal had political aspirations of her own and, in 2007, ran for the presidency against Hollande's wishes. A few weeks after her defeat, the couple announced their separation.
Hollande is a Catholic, however, he became an agnostic in later life, and now considers himself to be an atheist. Hollande is the most unpopular president of the French Fifth Republic. In September 2014, his approval rating was down to 13%, making him the first French leader in modern times to ever break the 20% threshold. One year before the end of his mandate, in April 2016, his approval rating was at 14%, and surveys predicted that was he to run for a second term, he would be defeated in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections.
King Francis I - 12 September 1494 - 31 March 1547
The first King of France from the Angoulême branch of the House of Valois, reigning from 1515 until his death. A prodigious patron of the arts, he initiated the French Renaissance by attracting many Italian artists to work on the Château de Chambord, including Leonardo da Vinci, who brought the Mona Lisa with him, which Francis had acquired. Francis' reign saw important cultural changes with the rise of absolute monarchy in France, the spread of humanism and Protestantism, and the beginning of French exploration of the New World. Jacques Cartier and others claimed lands in the Americas for France and paved the way for the expansion of the first French colonial empire.
For his role in the development and promotion of a standardized French language, he became known as le Père et Restaurateur des Lettres (the "Father and Restorer of Letters"). He was also known as François au Grand Nez ("Francis of the Large Nose"), the Grand Colas, and the Roi-Chevalier (the "Knight-King") for his personal involvement in the wars against his great rival the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V.
This was also a time when Spanish and Portuguese expeditions were discovering the unknown lands of Africa, Asia and the New World. In 1534, Francis sent Jacques Cartier to explore the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Cartier was the first to document the name Canada to designate the territory on the shores of the St-Lawrence River and claim the territory for France.
Napoleon Bonaparte - Last days in France (on Ile d'Aix) before surrendering to the British in 1815
(Image left) - Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon - the British ship that had dogged his steps for twenty years.
1815 June 18 - Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and abdicates in favour of his son.
June 29 - Dressed like a bourgeois, he leaves Paris and arrived in the port of Rochefort (Charente Maritime) on July 3rd. He hopes to embark from there and flee to the United States. Two boats in the harbour of the island of Aix await his signal, but the English naval ship, HMS Bellerophon, blocks the port.
July 9th - After considering and rejecting several solutions that seem unsafe, Napoleon decides to go to the island of Aix. He is acclaimed by the people, he visits the island and inspects the defenses he had built in 1808.
July 10th - Napoleon sends a delegation to HMS Bellerophon; he hopes to obtain safe conduct or be accepted in a proper and reassuring manner.
June 12th - The French Provisional Government is overthrown and, there is the return of emigrants - these seems to Napoleon greater dangers than the English. He sets for Aix and moves into the house of the commander of the place he had built in 1808 on the island of Aix. His brother Joseph joins Napoleon and urges him to escape whilst he deceives the enemy, but Napoleon refused. The English naval ship was still blocking the port and waiting patiently.
July 13th July 13th - Napoleon decides to entrust his fate to his enemies forever. He writes a letter of surrender to the Prince Regent of England (later George IV); extract: ……exposed to factions which divide my country, and the enmity of the greatest powers of Europe, I have terminated my political career and I, as Themistocles, shall sit in the midst of people British. I put myself under the protection of its laws, which I claim from your Royal Highness as the most powerful, the most constant and most generous of my enemies… Napoleon writes other letters, issues his financial orders. He goes to the beach, listens to the wind, chats to a few soldiers and fishermen…
July 15th - In the morning, the Emperor prepares himself to leave France forever. Dressed in his uniform of Colonel of Chasseurs of the Guard and wearing his little hat, he takes place in the boat that will take him to board the HMS Bellerophon (it was Bellerophon's last seagoing service. She was paid off and converted to a prison ship in 1815, and was renamed Captivity in 1824 to free the name for another ship).
NOTE: The house where Napoleon lived is now a museum dedicated to his last days in Charente Maritime. The island of Aix is a heritage site with no cars: great for walking, cycling and bathing. The island is reached by the Fouras passenger ferry.
Jean Monnet 1888 -1979 Born in Cognac, Charente
Jean Monnet was a respected French economist responsible for the introduction of national economic planning in post-1945 France. On 6 December 1963, Monnet was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Special Distinction, by US President Lyndon Johnson for his contributions to America's victory program during WW2.
However, Monnet is primarily known as one of the founding fathers of the European Union. In 1943, Jean Monnet said: "There will be no peace in Europe, if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty... The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their people the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation..." In 1955, Monnet founded the Action Committee for the United States of Europe which laid the foundation for the European Union - eventually in 1958, emerging as the European Economic Community (EEC) commonly known as the "Common Market"), which was established by the Treaty of Rome of 1957.
Born 27 janvier 1934......
Cresson was appointed to the prime ministerial post by President François Mitterrand on 15 May 1991. She soon became strongly unpopular among the electorate and had to leave office after less than one year, following the Socialists' poor showing in 1992's regional elections. She spent the shortest time in office of any Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic so far. Her strong criticism of Japanese trade practices, going so far as to compare the Japanese to "yellow ants trying to take over the world", led some to consider her also to be a racist. She also said, discussing the sexual activities of Anglo-Saxon males, "Homosexuality seems strange to me. It's different and marginal. It exists more in the Anglo-Saxon tradition than the Latin one."
François Mauriac 1916-1996 (born and buried in Jarnac) French novelist François Mauriac was born on Oct. 11, 1885, in Bordeaux. Born into an upper-middle-class family, he studied in Bordeaux and Paris before leaving school to write. He gained attention with his 1922 novel "Le Baiser au lépreux (The Kiss to the Leper). The prolific writer explored Christian themes and wrote political pieces condemning totalitarianism. He won the 1952 Nobel Prize for Literature.
A quote: "Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.
Jean-Pierre Raffarin - Born 3 August 1948 in Poitiers
Prime Minister (6 May 2002 – 31 May 2005; under President Jacques Chircac). His political policies combined authority and moderate economical liberalism – that is, the support of laissez-faire economic policies. In 2003 he launched reforms of the public retirement scheme and of decentralisation, which led to many strikes. During the summer of 2003 the country experienced an unusual heat wave which caused the death of nearly 15,000 people. The perceived late reaction of the government was blamed on his administration. In 2004 he began a reform of the French state-run health-care system.
He said in an interview: When I see the cultural diversity that exists today, I feel that we must defend it, and we need Europe, because otherwise we are going to live in a society with a single model, the Anglo-American model. Raffarin's resigned on 30 May 2005, after the "NO" victory at the European Constitution referendum (referendum to decide whether France should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union).
Charles Augustin de Coulomb
Born on June 14, 1736, in Angoulême; died in Paris on August 23, 1806 He is best known for developing Coulomb’s law which he first published in 1785. This law which described the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles led to the development of the theory of electromagnetism. Between 1785 and 1791, he wrote seven crucial memoirs that dealt with various aspects of electricity and magnetism. His name is included among the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. A lunar feature, ‘Crater Coulomb’ is named after him to honor his contributions to the world. He had always been of a delicate health. His later years were marked by ill health and he died on 23 August 1806.