One is not born a woman, one becomes one (On ne nait pas femme, on le devient).
Simone de Beauvoir, existentialist philosopher and writer
Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights.
Olympe de Gouges, playwright and political activist
All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.
Josephine Baker, singer, dancer and civil rights activist
Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
George Sand, pen name of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, novelist and journalist
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
Coco Chanel, fashion designer
All battles are first won or lost, in the mind.
Joan of Arc, national heroine of France
There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France
Only idiots refuse to change their minds.
Brigitte Bardot, actress and animal rights activist
Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.
Sarah Bernhardt, actress
When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door.
Simone Weil, French philosopher
One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
Marie Curie, Polish and naturalised-French physicist and chemist
Use your faults, use your defects; then you’re going to be a star.
Edith Piaf, singer
Opportunities are often things you haven’t noticed the first time around.
Catherine Deneuve, actress
Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.
Vanessa Paradis, singer and actress
More in French history