France’s Rich List

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While some wealthy French have been complaining of a culture of over-taxation and stagnation (see here), the latest list of French billionaires shows that there is still plenty of opportunity to make it good in the land of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité.

France’s Ten Richest People

1. Liliane Bettencourt (L’Oréal): €23 billion. Officially the richest woman in the world, as well as being most famous recently for her association with Nicolas Sarkozy, the 90-year-old cosmetics heiress is very flush.

Arnault_DV_200902241627222. Bernard Arnault (LVMH): €22 billion. In case you didn’t know it, LVMH stands for Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Luxury goods are his trade and he’s pals with both Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy.

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francois-pinault-was-a-high-school-dropout-who-now-leads-luxury-goods-group-ppr3. François Pinault (PPR): €12 billion. Another renowned art collector with political friends (this time, of ex-president Jacques Chirac), his retail holding company owns Christie’s Auction House and Chateau Latour amongst others.

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EUROPE-BELGIQUE-FRANCE-VENTE-ARMES-CORRUPTION4. Serge Dassault (Dassault): €10 billion. The 87-year-old owns the newspaper Le Figaro but his main trade is in military planes and ancillary services.

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wertheimers5. Alain and Gérard Wertheimer (Chanel): €6 billion.
The grandchildren of the original founders of the Chanel brand, their interests extend to a number of other luxury brands worldwide.

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xavier-niel_400x2806. Xavier Niel (Iliad): €5 billion. First in the list that isn’t ‘old money’, 45-year-old Niel made his fortune in the technology sector. He’s the owner of French internet provider Iliad and co-owner of landmark newspaper title Le Monde.

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jean-claude-decaux-and-family7. Jean-Claude Decaux (JCDecaux): €4 billion. France’s answer to More O’Farrell, Decaux’s empire involves public space advertising and bicycle hire and sprang from the city of Lyon.

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emmanuel besnier8. Emmanuel Besnier (Lactalis): €3,3 billion. Owner of the largest dairy products company in the world and the second-largest food products company in France (after Danone), 40-year-old Besnier (who inherited his business from his father) is often quoted in the French press as the “invisible billionaire”.

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Pierre_Bellon_Rea9. Pierre Bellon (Sodexo): €3 billion. The 83-year-old is the founder of the food services business that has reached into every corner of the globe.

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vincent bollore10. Vincent Bolloré (Bolloré): €3 billion. The 61-year-old amassed his personal fortune from his actions as an industrialist and corporate raider. Another pal of Sarkozy, there was much criticism of the ex-president accepting holidays from Bolloré – something that Bolloré’s father Michel used to do for the late President Pompidou.

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