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books The Best French Authors

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List Rules Top French writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays

A list of the best French authors that have provided works of nonfiction, poetry, and fiction that have become classics. Authors such as Victor Hugo, Albert Camus, and Alexandre Dumas may be familiar names of French authors that are added to the list, along with others that may not be as best-selling. This list of French writers includes playwrights and philosophers 

This list will answer the question, "who are the best French authors?" Whether someone is looking for classic writers, more contemporary writers, poets or a new author to add to their reading list, this is a perfect place to start.
 
The list is changed based on the ranking from voters, and since it does not include all French authors ever, you can add any that are missing.

1
+ - 49 15
Louis-Ferdinand Céline is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Authors
Louis-Ferdinand Céline Journey to the End of the Night, Death on Credit, Œuvres de Louis Ferdinand Céline

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2
+ - 47 16
Honoré de Balzac is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Authors
Honoré de Balzac Le Père Goriot, Eugénie Grandet, Cousin Bette

3
+ - 43 15
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Authors
Victor Hugo Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

4
+ - 38 12
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Authors
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus

5
+ - 42 16
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Authors
Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, A Journey to the Center of the Earth

6
+ - 34 10
Stendhal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Authors
Stendhal The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma, Spicy food

7
+ - 37 13
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Authors
Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers

8
+ - 29 8
Charles Baudelaire is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Authors
Charles Baudelaire Les Fleurs du Mal, Le Spleen de Paris

9
+ - 29 9
Molière is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Authors
Molière Tartuffe, The Miser

10
+ - 32 13
Michel Houellebecq is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Authors
Michel Houellebecq Platform, Whatever, H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World

11
+ - 25 8
Gustave Flaubert is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Authors
Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary

12
+ - 23 8
Émile Zola is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Authors
Émile Zola Nana, Germinal, Thérèse Raquin

13
+ - 25 10
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Authors
Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus

14
+ - 18 4
Guy de Maupassant is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Authors
Guy de Maupassant Bel Ami, Une vie, Pierre et Jean

15
+ - 19 5
Frédéric Mistral is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Authors
Frédéric Mistral Mirèio, Coupo Santo, Calendau

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16
+ - 19 7
Marcel Pagnol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Authors
Marcel Pagnol The Well-Digger's Daughter, Manon Des Sources, Manon des sources

17
+ - 6 0
Georges Dumézil is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Authors
Georges Dumézil Le Livre des héros , Du mythe au roman, 4e édition

18
+ - 15 5
André Gide is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Authors
André Gide The Counterfeiters, The Imoralist

19
+ - 15 5
René Descartes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Authors
René Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy, Discourse on the Method, Rules for the Direction of the Mind

20
+ - 11 2
Chrétien de Troyes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Authors
Chrétien de Troyes Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, Erec and Enide

21
+ - 12 3
Robert Brasillach is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Authors
Robert Brasillach A translation of Notre avant-guerre/Before the war by Robert Brasillach

22
+ - 12 3
Paul Morand is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Authors
Paul Morand An exhibition of sculpture by Brancusi, Ci-gît Sophie Dorothée de Celle, De la vitesse

23
+ - 15 6
Edmond Rostand is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Authors
Edmond Rostand Cyrano de Bergerac , The Story of Chanticleer

24
+ - 10 2
François Villon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Authors
François Villon Œuvres, Die lasterhaften Balladen und Lieder, Le grant testament Villon et le petit Son codicille. Le jargon. Les balades

25
+ - 10 2
Arthur de Gobineau is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Authors
Arthur de Gobineau Gobineau: selected political writings, Les dépêches diplomatiques du comte de Gobineau en Perse, Ce qui est arrive a la France en 1870

26
+ - 11 3
Jean Racine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best French Authors
Jean Racine Phèdre, Alexandre le Grand, Les Plaideurs

27
+ - 9 2
Jean Raspail is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best French Authors
Jean Raspail The Camp of the Saints, L' anneau du pécheur, Qui se souvient des hommes ...

28
+ - 9 2
Pierre Drieu La Rochelle is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best French Authors
Pierre Drieu La Rochelle The Man on Horseback, Chronique politique, 1934-1942

29
+ - 17 10
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best French Authors
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince

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30
+ - 7 1
Alphonse Daudet is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best French Authors
Alphonse Daudet The Leopard, Las Aventuras de Jack, Fromont the younger and Risler the elder

31
+ - 8 2
Maurice Barrès is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best French Authors
Maurice Barrès The Faith of France, The sacred hill, The soul of France

32
+ - 8 2
Georges Bernanos is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best French Authors
Georges Bernanos Under the Sun of Satan, Essais et écrits de combat, Le crépuscule des vieux

33
+ - 9 3
Pierre Benoit is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best French Authors
Pierre Benoit Hercules and the Captive Women, Atlantida, Koenigsmark

34
+ - 5 0
François-René de Chateaubriand is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best French Authors
François-René de Chateaubriand Atala*, Travels in Greece, Palestine

35
+ - 5 0
Roger Nimier is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best French Authors
Roger Nimier Elevator to the Gallows, I Vinti, Les Épées

36
+ - 5 0
Jacques Perret is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best French Authors
Jacques Perret Ernest le Rebelle, Le caporal épinglé, Role de Plaisance

37
+ - 7 2
Gérard de Nerval is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best French Authors
Gérard de Nerval Les Filles du feu, Poèmes d'Outre-Rhin, Les Illuminés

38
+ - 10 6
Gaston Leroux is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best French Authors
Gaston Leroux The Phantom of the Opera, The Mystery of the Yellow Room, Le Fauteuil hanté

39
+ - 7 3
François Mauriac is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best French Authors
François Mauriac Thérèse Desqueyroux, Flesh and Blood, The Holy Terror

40
+ - 4 0
Alfred de Vigny is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best French Authors
Alfred de Vigny Servitude and grandeur of arms, Servitude et grandeur militaires, Chatterton

41
+ - 4 0
Paul Bourget is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best French Authors
Paul Bourget L'étape, Le démon de midi, André Cornélis

42
+ - 4 0
Antoine Blondin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best French Authors
Antoine Blondin The Secrets of the Bed, Last Leap, Obsession

43
+ - 4 0
Renaud Camus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best French Authors
Renaud Camus L' élégie de Chamalières, Aguets, Ne lisez pas ce livre !

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44
+ - 4 0
André Chénier is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best French Authors
André Chénier Elegies and Camille

45
+ - 9 6
Anatole France is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best French Authors
Anatole France Penguin Island, The path of glory, Rabelais

46
+ - 9 6
George Sand is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best French Authors
George Sand Little Fadette, Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence, Lelia

47
+ - 36 34
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best French Authors
Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time

48
+ - 5 2
Raymond Radiguet is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best French Authors
Raymond Radiguet The devil in the flesh, Les joues en feu, Le Diable au corps

49
+ - 6 4
Antoine François Prévost is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best French Authors
Antoine François Prévost Manon Lescaut, Sacrificial Lovers Manon Lescaut and Leone Leoni, The memoirs and adventures of the Marquis de Bretagne and Duc d'Harcourt

50
+ - 5 3
Sully Prudhomme is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best French Authors
Sully Prudhomme Les destins, Les épreuves, Épaves