Music

The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked 

Ranker Music
Updated March 31, 2020 2.5k votes 562 voters 10.3k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up who you think are the greatest French composers of all time

Who are the greatest French composers of all time? This list is ranked from best to worst by Classical music fans all over the world. The best French composers hail from all walks of life and lived during various time periods. When it comes to some of the more famous composers on this list, they gained popularity during the Renaissance. Others gained notoriety during the Romantic period. A few of them even wrote music that is still popular today. 

What are some of the names you'll find on this French composers list? Claude Debussy's impressionist style made him a favorite of classical music fans in the 1890s and beyond. The flowing riffs of “Clair de Lune” still make for enchanting orchestrations all over the world. Hector Berlioz is another one of the most talented composers from France.

When it comes to avant-garde French composers it doesn't get much better than the “Gymnopédies” writer Eric Satie. Other good musicians that appear on this top French composers list include Jules Massenet, Jean-Phillipe Rameau and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Which of these composers do you think wrote the best pieces? Give your favorite composers a thumbs up and please add any great Classical musicians you think belong on this list.
list ordered by
1
Claude Debussy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
2
Camille Saint-Saëns... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
3
Maurice Ravel is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
4
Gabriel Fauré is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
5
Georges Bizet is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
6
Hector Berlioz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
7
Erik Satie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
8
Jean-Philippe Rameau is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
9
Jacques Offenbach is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
10
Francis Poulenc is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
11
Olivier Messiaen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
12
François Couperin... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
13
Jules Massenet is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
14
Charles Gounod is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
15
Léo Delibes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
16
Jean-Baptiste Lully is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
17
Lili Boulanger is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
Uroš Stijović added
18
Marc-Antoine Charpentier... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
19
Paul Dukas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added
20
Édouard Lalo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
RohanSrinivasan added
21
Ernest Chausson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
22
Darius Milhaud is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
23
Arthur Honegger is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
24
Pierre Boulez is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked
25
Emmanuel Chabrier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Composers of All Time, Ranked