Non-French in Paris


Famous non-French celebrities who lived in Paris....

Over history, thousands of non-French writers, artists or musicians chose to live in Paris, some of them for a few years, others for most of their life. Many of them became French but all kept their roots. The American are listed on another page, but there were many other nationalities. Among them :

  • Charles AZNAVOUR (born French in Paris 1924 Varenagh Aznavourian from Armenian parents escaped from the genocide, died in Provence 2018) : the most famous French singer and composer for decades (1,300 songs, 180 million records).

  • BRASSAÏ (born Hungarian Gyula Halasz, became French) (1899-1984), photographer, settled in Paris in 1923 where he made some of his most famous pictures, a friend of Henry Miller, Picasso and many others, died in Nice.

  • Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985) : painter, born Jewish Bielorussian, he became French in 1937 ; he came to Paris in 1910, he died in Saint Paul de Vence.

  • Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1839) : born Polish from a French father, Chopin lived, composed and performed in Paris from 1831 to his death ; he is buried in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris (and his heart in Warshaw).

  • Emil CIORAN (1911-1995), Romanian philosopher and writer, died in Paris where he settled in 1937.

  • Constantinos COSTA-GAVRAS (b.1933) : born Greek, he became French in 1968 ; he is one of the most popular French movie-makers.

  • Leonard FOUJITA (1886-1968) : born Japanese, he became French in 1955 ; he came to Paris in 1913 and lived there most of his life ; a mutifaceted artist (painter, engraver, photograph, sculptor, etc) he became Christian in 1959 and changed his first name. Visit his last painting studio near Paris.

  • James JOYCE (1882-1941) : Irish, he lived in Paris from 1920 to 1940, to die in Zürich.

  • Le CORBUSIER (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965) : born Swiss, he became French in 1930 ; architect but also city planner, designer and painter, he moved to Paris in 1917 and died in the South of France.

  • Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973) : a Spaniard born in near Malaga, he lived in Paris from 1901 to the late 1940s then mostly on the French Riviera wher he died. After his death the succession tax was paid with his paintings (the French tax laws make it possible : it is called "dation en paiement"), which is why the Paris Musee Picasso has the richest collection of his work in the world.
  • Amedeo MODIGLIANI (1884-1920) : Italian, lived in Paris from 1906 to his deat in 1920. A painter and a sculptor in Montparnasse, he is the very symbol of the "artiste maudit (accursed artist)".
  • Chaïm SOUTINE (1894-1943) : born Jewish-Lithanian, he came to Paris in 1913 and became French. A friend of Modigliani, his genius was recognized after many years of extreme poverty.
  • Vincent VAN GOGH (1853-1890) : Dutch, he moved to France in 1886, lived in Paris and in Provence and died in Auvers, near Paris.

  • Oscar WILDE (1854-1900) : Irish, he spent his last years in Paris, where he died very poor ; he his buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, in an extragavant grave by Jacob Epstein.

  • ZAO WOU KI (1920-2013) : born Chinese, he became French in 1964 ; a painter and engraver, he moved to Paris in 1948 and died in the South of France.

  • and many others

To related pages : about life in France, American Paris, Australian Paris,CanadianParis, Chinese Paris, IndianParis, JapaneseParis, etc...

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For more on intercultural differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • (in French) : "French Toast - Heureuse comme une Américaine en France", Ramsay, Paris, 2005
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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