Famous Explorers from France

List of notable or famous explorers from France, with bios and photos, including the top explorers born in France and even some popular explorers who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French explorers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These explorers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known explorer from France is included when available.

This list features people like Jules Dumont d'Urville and Henri Duveyrier.

This historic explorers from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French explorers of note?" and "Who are the most famous explorers from France?" These prominent explorers of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French explorers.

Use this list of renowned French explorers to discover some new explorers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}

  • André Michaux
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    André Michaux, also styled Andrew Michaud, (8 March 1746 – 13 November 1802) was a French botanist and explorer. He is most noted for his study of North American flora. In addition Michaux collected specimens in England, Spain, France, and even, Persia. His work was part of a larger European effort to gather knowledge about the natural world. Michaux's contributions included Histoire des chênes de l'Amérique (1801; "The Oaks of North America") and Flora Boreali-Americana (1803; "The Flora of North America") which continued to be botanical references well into the 19th century. His son, François André Michaux, also became an authoritative botanist.
    • Age: Dec. at 56 (1746-1802)
    • Birthplace: Versailles, France
  • Charles Rabot
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Charles Rabot (26 June 1856 in Nevers − 1 February 1944 in Martigné-Ferchaud) was a French geographer, glaciologist, traveler, journalist, lecturer, translator, and explorer. He was also the first person to climb Kebnekaise, the tallest mountain in Sweden, which he accomplished in 1883.He led his first expedition to Spitsbergen in 1882 on the ship Petit Paris. Ten years later, he embarked on a voyage on the ship La Mancha, for a mapping mission, redrawing the map of the glacier Svartisen. He crossed Spitsbergen west to east and surveyed Prins Karls Forland. He was also a passionate ethnographer with the study of some Arctic peoples to the east and west of the Urals: Chuvash people, Cheremiss, Permiak, Zyrian, Khanty (Ostiaks) and Samoyeds. He published numerous articles on the above subjects, and also wrote and translated many books on Arctic exploration and sciences. The French base located at Ny-Ålesund bears his name, which has also be given an invertebrate marine plankton found in the waters of Spitsbergen (Eurytemora raboti), and a Swedish as well as a Norwegian glacier. Rabot Island was named after him in 1903−5 by Jean-Baptiste Charcot, leader of the French Antarctic Expedition.
    • Age: Dec. at 87 (1856-1944)
    • Birthplace: Nevers, France
  • Henri Duveyrier (28 February 1840, in Paris – 25 April 1892, in Sèvres), was a French explorer and geographer, most well known for his exploration of the Sahara .
    • Age: Dec. at 52 (1840-1892)
    • Birthplace: Paris, France
  • Jacques Cartier
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Jacques Cartier ( KAR-tee-ay, also US: KAR-tee-AY, kar-TYAY, French: [ʒak kaʁtje], Quebec French: [- kaʁt͡sje]; Breton: Jakez Karter; December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557) was a Breton explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island).
    • Age: Dec. at 65 (1491-1557)
    • Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
  • Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse (French: [ʒɑ̃ fʁɑ̃swa də ɡalop kɔ̃t də lapeʁuːz]; variant spelling of his name comte "de La Pérouse"; 23 August 1741 – 1788?) was a French Naval officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania.
    • Age: Dec. at 46 (1741-1788)
    • Birthplace: Albi, France
  • Jules Dumont d'Urville
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (French pronunciation: ​[ʒyl dymɔ̃ dyʁvil]; 23 May 1790 – 8 May 1842) was a French explorer and naval officer who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. As a botanist and cartographer he gave his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as d'Urville Island in New Zealand.
    • Age: Dec. at 51 (1790-1842)
    • Birthplace: Condé-sur-Noireau, France