These days, music is all about who goes viral and gets maximum likes on the internet. Becoming popular on YouTube is also must for the survival of a singer’s career.
It would not be wrong to say that French music is one of the perfect epitomes of the soulfulness. There are plenty of male and female singers with impressive voices from France.
It is at least very tough for me to say who the fabulous singers are because of competition, but I can definitely talk about top 10 hottest French female singers of all time.
Some of them are no long with us, but their voices and the spell of their beauty is still in the air.
This list ranges from the operatic to the classic 60s to modern-contemporary French music. All of these women have had been versatile, knowing not only French language but also English and others.
You do not need to understand French to feel the emotions and to get inspired by the music and voices of these divas.
10. Mireille Mathieu
Mireille Mathieu (born 22 July 1946) is a wonderful French singer. She has a history of recording more than 1100 songs in 11 languages.
We can also credit Mathieu for having 122 million albums sold worldwide.
She was born in Avignon, France, to Roger and Marcelle-Sophie (née Poirier). She was youngest of 14 siblings.
The Mathieu family lived in poverty, but saw great improvement in financial condition by 1954.
The lovely French lady Mireille failed to perform well in school as she had less interest in her studies.
She is said to have never used prompter on stage. This diva began working in Montfavet’s factory.
Like her parents, she is a short woman at 1.52 m (5 feet) in height but that never led her loss the confidence.
By religion, Mireille is Roman Catholic. She participated in an annual singing contest in Avignon called On Chante dans mon Quartier and from then onward, her music career begun.
In 1965, she was a part of several concerts and touched the peaks of success.
Mireille spent much part of her life touring the world because of music shows and live singing performances of different niches.
Mireille sang twice at the London Palladium during the royal performances.
She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the Danny Kaye Show.
In 2012, she announced the re-release of her Chante Piaf.
From 2009 to 2014, she was the guest star of an international festival named Spasskaya Tower, held in Moscow’s Red Square.
Mireille Mathieu never married and has no child.
Camille Dalmais, widely popular by her mononym Camille, was born on March 10, 1978, in Paris. She is a popular French singer, occasional actress, and songwriter.
She studied ballet and had much interest in bossa nova music as well as American stage works.
She attended Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye from where she received Bachelors’ in literature.
During 2000, she performed at jazz clubs across Paris. Her acting in Les Morsures de l’aube (fr) has been outstanding.
She also studied at Paris Institute of Political Studies before starting her music career.
During 2002, Camille was contracted by the Virgin Records, and she was able to release her first studio album Le Sac des Filles.
In 2004, she worked with Marc Collin and his band Nouvelle Vague.
She has lent her voices to the songs “Too Drunk to Fuck”, “In a Manner of Speaking”, “The Guns of Brixton”, and “Making Plans for Nigel”.
During 2005, her album Le Fil was released, a production of MaJiKer.
In 2007, Dalmais presented her contribution to the soundtrack Ratatouille in the song entitled “Le Festin”. Her style of singing here was amazing.
She released her album Music Hole in 2008.
Her song, “Ta douleur” was featured on a TV program of USA named Saturday Night Live.
In November 2010, Camille Dalmais delivered her son, Marius, whose father is Clément Ducol.
8. Emilie Simon
Emilie Simon (born 1978 in Montpellier, France) is a successful and prominent singer, composer, and songwriter of France.
In May 2003, she released her debut album Émilie Simon. She worked really hard for the promotion of her album, and did live performances across France.
In 2004, she was rewarded with a Victoire de la musique in the ‘Electronic Album’ category for the success of this album.
More recently, Emilie has been performing across America and parts of Canada. She released The Flower Book in USA back in November 2006, followed by the release of The March of the Empress, and The Big Machine.
A French movie was released in 2005 that featured a soundtrack by Emilie Simon, release of Universal Studio.
In 2006, she won the Victoire de la Musique in the “Film Soundtrack” category, and received nomination of a Cesar Award.
In late 2006, she released The Flower Book in the USA, and the same album was released in Canada in April 2007.
During most of her stage performances, Emilie has worked alongside Cyrille Brissot.
Some of her top singers are Désert (2002), Flowers (2003), Song of the Storm (2005), Rose Hybride de Thé (2006), Dreamland (2009), and many more.
7. Bridgett Bardot
Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot (born 28 September 1934) is a former actress, fashion model, and prominent singer of France.
She has always been known as the hot and stunning lady of the 1950s.
Starting in 1969, Bardot used to be an official face of Marianne.
She started her acting career back in 1952, and appeared in 16 routine comedy films. She was starred in And God Created Woman, Le Mépris, and Viva Maria!.
Bardot received nomination of a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress.
This lady took retirement from the entertainment industry in 1973.
During her career, she performed in 47 films, musical shows, recorded more than 55 songs, and received the Legion of Honour in 1985.
Bardot was born in Paris, to Louis Bardot (1896–1975) and Anne-Marie “Toty” Bardot (née Mucel; 1912–1978). She had engineering degree but never showed interest in that field.
She is one of the few actresses of Europe who received media attention of America.
She attended the Cannes Film Festival in April 1953.
Some of her finest performances are Doctor at Sea (1955), Helen of Troy (1954), Act of Love (1954), and And God Created Woman (1956).
She divorced Vadim in 1957. In 1959, she re-maried Jacques Charrier, and has only child, Nicolas-Jacques Charrier from Jacques.
6. Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker (3 June 1906 – 12 April 1975) is an American-born dancer, actress, and singer of France.
She became popular as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus”, and “Creole Goddess”.
Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine was a household name of France; she was fluent in English and French languages.
She is credited to be the first black women who starred in motion picture, Zouzou (1934), and who became a world renewed entertainer.
She contributed to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1968, she turned down the offer of Coretta Scott King.
Josephine used to dress poorly, and played in the railroad yards of Union Station. From then, she was able to develop herself as a singer.
She performed in a live domestic show at the age of 8.
She is a dropped out of school, and never completed her studies.
She performed the ‘Danse sauvage,’ wearing a costume with a skirt of artificial bananas.
Her successful movies are Siren of the Tropics (1927), Zouzou (1934), and Princesse Tam Tam (1935). She also starred in Fausse Alerte in 1940.
Baker was married four times. Her first marriage was with Pullman porter Willie Wells at her 13. The couple separated because things could not work. Another marriage of Josephine was to Willie Baker in 1921.
In 1925, she was in relationship with Georges Simenon.
In 1937, Baker married Frenchman Jean Lion.
5. Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf (born 19 December 1915 – died 10 October 1963) has full name Edith Giovanna Gassion. She was a French cabaret singer, actress, and songwriter.
She is widely known as France’s national diva.
Some of her exceptional songs include “La Vie en rose” (1946), “Non, je ne regrette rien” (1960), “Hymne à l’amour” (1949), “Milord” (1959), “La Foule” (1957), “l’Accordéoniste” (1955), and “Padam … Padam …” (1951).
She was born in Belleville, Paris, to Louis-Alphonse Gassion (1881–1944), her father who was a street performer from Normandy.
Her mom, Annetta Giovanna Maillard (1895–1945), was of Italian descent.
From the age of 3 to 7, Piaf was allegedly blind because of keratitis.
In 1929, at age 14, she began working as a street performer alongside her dad.
In 1932, she began love relationship with Louis Dupont.
In February 1933, she delivered her first child, daughter named Cécelle, in the Hôpital Tenon.
In 1935, Piaf was discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris by nightclub owner Louis Leplée.
On 6 April 1936, Leplee was murdered. Questions were asked from Piaf.
In 1947, she wrote the lyrics of the song Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ! (music : Henri Betti) for Montand.
She died of liver cancer at her 47, on 10 October 1963.
A film about her life has been made which is Piaf (1974).
4. Regine Crespin
Regine Crespin (23 February 1927 – 5 July 2007) was an outstanding and prominent French singer.
She had career in opera and stage from 1950 and 1989. She began singing roles in the dramatic soprano and spinto soprano repertoire. She used to sing songs for Italian, French, German, and Russian audience.
Throughout her career, Regine has been admired for her elegances, warmth and subtlety of singing.
She, in 1950, became a fixture at the Opéra National de Paris. She launched her international career in 1958 with Richard Wagner’s Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival.
Crespin was born in Marseille, and moved to Nimes with her parents at the age of 5.
She won first prize in a singing competition in her teenage, and went to Paris for studying at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Her first professional stage engagement was in Reims in 1949 (Charlotte in Werther). She even tried her luck with opera houses in the provinces of France.
Some of her incredible works are Der Rosenkavalier, Oberon, Otello, Un ballo in maschera, Sigurd, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Sampiero Corso, and more.
She has performed with many popular singers such as Gabriel Bacquier, Kathleen Battle, Enrico Di Giuseppe, William Lewis, Sherrill Milnes, Birgit Nilsson, and Shirley Verrett.
3. Frederica Von Stade
Frederica von Stade (born June 1, 1945) is an American-French mezzo-soprano.
She was born in Somerville, New Jersey. Her parents are of French descent. This lady is nicknamed as Flicka.
Her father, Charles S. von Stade, was a polo champion, and her grandfather, Francis Skiddy von Stade, Sr., (1884–1967), was also in the same field.
She attended the Mannes College of Music in New York City. Stade began her career with the Metropolitan Opera in 1970, and in 1971 appeared as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera.
Her unforgettable public roles are in Idomeneo, Hansel and Gretel, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Der Rosenkavalier, Dialogues des Carmélites, Pelléas et Mélisande, Werther, and The Merry Widow.
She was trained for her roles in The Barber of Seville, and La Cenerentola.
She has been close friend of Dominick Argento, Thomas Pasatieri, Conrad Susa, and Richard Danielpour, all of these produced works for the lovely Stade.
On January 19, 1985, she sang at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala, before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. She had also sung an aria from Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer.
She did recordings like Songs of the Cat with Garrison Keillor, and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
She received an award in 1983 at the White House by President Reagan for her contribution to the arts.
Von Stade appeared in the finale of We Are Most Amused.
2. Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni, widely famous as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (born Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi; 23 December 1967), is an Italian-French singer-songwriter and former model.
She married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The names of her kids are Aurélien Enthoven, and Giulia Sarkozy.
She was born to an Italian concert pianist Marisa Borini.
From her biological father, she has a half-sister, Consuelo Remmert.
She contracted with City Models at age 19.
As a model, she worked with Christian Dior, Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Yves Saint-Laurent, Shiatzy Chen, Chanel, and Versace.
She sent her lyrics to Julien Clerc in 1999, and was given the chance to compose six tracks for 2000 album Si j’étais elle.
In 2002, she released her debut album Quelqu’un m’a dit, a production of Louis Bertignac.
In 2004, Carla had won an EBBA Award.
A year after, in 2005, she had written the lyrics of songs for Louis Bertignac’s new album named Longtemps.
Her second album is No Promises, and third one is Comme si de rien n’était.
Bruni, in 2009, recorded a duet with Harry Connick, Jr. for album Your Songs.
It was rumored that she has relationship with many men including Louis Bertignac, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Léos Carax, Charles Berling, Arno Klarsfeld, Vincent Pérez, and Laurent Fabius.
1. Charlotte Gainesbourg
Charlotte Lucy Gainsbourg (born 21 July 1971) is a British actress and one of the hottest French female singers. She is daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.
She began her career in the music industry with her dad from the song “Lemon Incest” at 12.
At her 15, Lucy released an album along-with her father.
She has been a part of many movies, and received a César Award, and the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award.
Gainsbourg was born in London. Her maternal grandmother was actress Judy Campbell and her uncle is the screenwriter Andrew Birkin.
She was raised in Paris. She has a half sister, Lou Doillon.
In 1987, she was targeted for a bungled kidnapping and in those days Charlotte Lucy saw tough time.
She has a young brother, Lucien “Lulu” Gainsbourg, born in 1986. Her elder sister, Kate Barry died in 2013.
In 1988, she was a part of Kung Fu Master, and Jane B. by Agnes V.
In 1993, Gainsbourg made her English speaking debut in The Cement Garden.
In 2003, she was cast in 21 Grams, alongside Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, and Benicio del Toro.
In 2000, Gainsbourg was featured on the Madonna album Music on the track “What It Feels Like For A Girl”.
In 2011, she presented her fans a double album Stage Whisper, which is collection of unreleased songs from IRM and live tracks.
These ladies saw many ups and downs in personal and professional lives. They are incredible in a way that they were still able to maintain their position years after years. Their breathy voice combined with indie-instrumental arrangement as well as beauty is what has always made them worth to listen to. Who is your favorite French female singer?