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France's most popular street names


Well, technically, not the most popular, but the most popular among those named for people, since many streets are named after their surroundings, such as Rue de l’Église, or in a Place de la Mairie or the like.

But France has a habit of naming streets after famous events, and especially famous (even if for a short while) people. There are streets named for rock stars and writers, victims of terrorism and leaders of the Reign of Terror and more.

But here's the Top Ten, according to

10 Georges Clémenceau (1,234 streets in France)

Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909 and again from 1917 until 1920, Clémenceau was nicknamed Père la Victoire (Father of Victory) or Le Tigre (The Tiger), after leading France at the end of World War I and into its immediate aftermath.

9 Maréchal Foch (1,255 streets)

Ferdinand Foch was a French general and military theorist who served as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War One. He was not an advocate of the post-war Treaty of Versaille, considering it too lenient on Germany, saying: “This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.”

It's pronounced 'fosh'.

8 Jules Ferry (1,318 streets)

Prime Minister of France from 1880 to 1881 and 1883 to 1885, Ferry is the politician who made primary education free and compulsory in France. He survived an assassination attempt in 1887, but died in March 1893 from complications linked to the wounds.

7 Général Leclerc (1,472 streets)

The Free-French general during World War II, to whom Nazi forces in Paris surrendered in August 1944, Leclerc was posthumously made a Maréchal in 1952.

6 Léon Gambetta (1,501 street names)

A lawyer - and Prime Minister for a couple of months at the end of 1881 - Gambetta was the politician who proclaimed the French Third Republic in 1870 and played a prominent role in its early government. He died in December 1882, at the age of 44.

5 Jean Moulin (2,215 street names)

A French civil servant remembered today as one of the main heroes of the French Resistance in World War II, who was captured and tortured by the Gestapo in the summer of 1943. He died on July 8th that year.

In 1964 he was inducted into the Panthéon in Paris, France's highest posthumous honour.

4 Jean Jaurès (2,370 street names)

A leading Socialist politician in France in the early 20th century, Jaurès is noted for his vain attempts to prevent World War I breaking out - in the face of popular opinion at the time - and for being assassinated outside a Paris café on the eve of conflict. He hails from Castres in south-west France, which is where you're particularly likely to see streets named after him in that area.

3 Victor Hugo (2,555 street names)

One of France’s greatest authors, revered for his novels The Hunchback of Notre Dame and  Les Misérables, his works of poetry and his plays, Hugo was also a politician, serving terms as both a deputy and a senator. His remains are interred in the Pantheon.

It's said that all the brothels closed in Paris on the day of his funeral, as a mark of respect to their best customer. That might be exaggerated, but he certainly had an enormous state funeral which thousands attended.

2 Louis Pasteur (3,354 street names)

The scientist whose research in chemistry led to breakthroughs in the understanding of the cause and prevention of diseases - including vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurisation, the last of which was named after him - which laid down the foundations of hygiene, public health and much modern medicine.

France's most famous medical research centre - the Institut Pasteur - is also named after him.

1 Charles de Gaulle (3,903 street names)

Le général is the clear winner of the street names contest.

The French army officer and statesman who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II, chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946, was Prime Minister from June 1958 to January 1959, then president from January 1959 to his resignation in 1969.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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