Top 12 Weirdest Things in France You Should Never Known

What Is the Capital of France: History, Facts, Best Places to See

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Photo KnowInsiders

How many billionaires in France?

France has 42 billionaires, about 0.579 per cent per 1 million people!

Who is the richest man in France?

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Photo AP

As the chairman and chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault is responsible for the largest luxury goods company in the world. This has made him the richest man in Europe, and the second richest in the world after Elon Musk.

After taking over his father’s real estate company in 1979, Arnault changed direction and began acquiring luxury goods brands, such as Christian Dior. This led to his involvement in LVMH, of which he soon became the controlling shareholder. Since then, the company’s portfolio — and its profits — has increased significantly, with over 70 luxury brands operating under the LVMH umbrella.

Arnault himself is a keen art collector — he opened a $135 million museum in Paris in 2014, featuring works by Picasso, Andy Warhol and Yves Klein. He has also donated over $220 million to the rebuilding of Notre-Dame fund and has invested in several online ventures (including Netflix) as well as in the French supermarket giant Carefour.

Who is the richest woman in France?

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Photo AP

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s richest woman, with an estimated net worth of around €66 billion.

Her net worth is roughly the same size as a third of her country’s pre-COVID-19 travel and tourism sector.

Despite her huge wealth, the 69-year-old from France is only the 13th richest people in the world. But her cosmetic empire might help her get over it, as she is currently the Vice Chair of the board of L’Oréal.

The company - started by her grandfather in 1909 - is the world’s largest cosmetic brand.

Who are other billionaires in France?

Rodolphe Saade & family: $41.4 billion

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Photo tradewins

Rodolphe Saadé is the son of late shipping magnate Jacques Saade, who died in 2018.

Jacques founded CMA CGM, now one of the world's largest shipping companies, in Marseille, France in 1978.

Rodolphe jointly controls the company with his siblings, Tanya Saadé Zeenny and Jacques Saadé Jr., as well as his mother Naila.

He took over from his father as chairman of the board and CEO of CMA CGM Group in 2017.

Francois Pinault & family: $34.0 billion

François Pinault is honorary chairman of luxury group Kering, which owns fashion brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gucci.

Pinault founded Kering, which started as a wood and building materials company, in 1963.

In 1999, Pinault changed the direction of the business toward luxury goods when he bought a controlling stake in Gucci Group.

Today the $20 billion (2021 sales) company, which also owns watch brand Girard-Perregaux, is run by Pinault's son, François-Henri.

Pinault and his family own iconic auction house Christie's, plus a 3,000-piece art collection with works by Picasso, Mondrian and Koons.

The Pinault Collection is on display in the 18th-century Bourse de Commerce building in Paris, which he helped restore.

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Alain Wertheimer: $33.0 billion

Photo Forbes
Photo Forbes

As the chairman of Chanel, Alain is the more senior of the two Wertheimer brothers, having convinced the board of trustees to hand him the reigns in 1973 at the age of just 25. In 1983, he appointed iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld to be the fashion division’s creative and artistic director, thereby revolutionizing the brand and revitalizing the company’s ailing finances.

Alain has little involvement in the artistic vision of the brand, preferring to take a backseat. He tends to shun the limelight, rarely giving interviews or attending Chanel events.

Gerard Wertheimer: $33.0 billion

Following a controversial business arrangement in 1924, Gerard Wertheimer’s grandfather Pierre launched the House of Chanel, a small but exclusive fashion boutique built upon the success of the Chanel No. 5 perfume. Now, Gérard — along with his brother Alain — retains control of what has become a global icon, heading the company’s watch division.

A keen equestrian, he invests a lot of time breeding thoroughbred horses at the family’s stable. He’s also made several investments in a number of exclusive vineyards with his brother. He currently lives in Switzerland.

Emmanuel Besnier: $18.9 billion

Emmanuel Besnier is the CEO and controlling shareholder of family-held Lactalis, one of the world's largest dairy firms with $20 billion in sales.

His father founded the company in 1933. It now sells products including President brie, Milkmaid yogurts and Valbreso feta.

His younger siblings, Jean-Michel and Marie, split the rest of the ownership in the family's milk and cheese giant.

Besnier and his siblings own stakes in Parmalat, the maker of Babybel, Frommageries Bel and Boursin.

Lactalis now employs 85,000 and owns more than 266 plants in 94 countries.

Vincent Bollore & family: $9.0 billion

Vincent Bolloré runs his family's conglomerate Bolloré Group, which was founded in 1822 as a paper manufacturer of cigarettes wrappers and bibles.

After a quick stint at Edmond de Rothschild bank, Bolloré took control of the struggling group in 1981 and turned it into a global giant.

The group, which is active in media, advertising, shipping, construction and logistics, owns a majority stake in telecom conglomerate Vivendi.

In 2018, French officials reportedly launched an investigation into Vincent Bolloré's dealings for alleged corruption. His group denied involvement.

In December 2019, Vivendi agreed to sell a 10% stake in its Universal Music Group to billionaire Ma Huateng's Tencent Holdings.

Xsvier Niel: $8.5 billion

High school dropout Xanier Niel is a renowned technology entrepreneur who owns over 70% of the publicly traded company Iliad. Groupe Iliad has over 15,000 employees and over 41 million active subscribers, which explains the creator’s vast wealth.

Niel’s initial venture, which he started at age 25, was the first internet provider in France, WorldNET. He was involved in World-NET for seven years but eventually sold his shares for $50 million — a great triumph for a man born into a middle-class family.

Nicolas Puech: $8.3 billion

Nicolas Puech is a fifth-generation descendant of Thierry Hermès, who founded one of Paris's most famous luxury fashion brands.

He resigned from Hermès' supervisory board in August 2014 but still owns about 5% of the company; other family members together hold a majority stake.

In September 2014, Hermès and luxury giant LVMH reached an agreement to distribute LVMH's 23% stake in Hermes to its shareholders.

The agreement settled a four-year dispute launched when LVMH accumulated the stock without its rival's knowledge.

It prompted speculation that LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault was planning a takeover.

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Top 25 richest people in France

1. Barnard Arnault & family: $180.7 billion

2. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & family: $71.9 billion

3. Rodolphe Saade & family: $41.4 billion

4. Francois Pinault & family: $34.0 billion

5. Alain Wertheimer: $33.0 billion

6. Gerard Wertheimer: $33.0 billion

7. Emmanuel Besnier: $18.9 billion

8. Vincent Bollore & family: $9.0 billion

9. Xsvier Niel: $8.5 billion

10. Nicolas Puech: $8.3 billion

11. Carrie Perrodo & family: $7.9 billion

12. Laurent Dassault: $7.4 billion

13. Thierry Dassault: $7.4 billion

14. Marie-Helene Habert-Dassault: $7.4 billion

15. Alain Merieux & family: $6.7 billion

16. Jean-Michel Besnier: $6.6 billion

17. Marie Besnier Beauvalot: $6.6 billion

18. Stephane Bancel: $5.8 billion

19.. Danielle Bellon & family: $4.4 billion

20. Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere: $3.9 billion

21. Martin & Olivier Bouygues: $3.7 billion

22. Patrick Drahi: $3.6 billion

23. Mohed Altrad: $3.3 billion

24. Gilles Martin: $3.2 billion

25. Charles Edelstenne: $2.9 billion

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