A Timeline of French Presidents from 1848 to president day
Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte 20th December 1848 – 2nd December 1852
The first elected President of France winning the 1848 election with a clear majority. He was the nephew of Napoleon I. In 1851 he led a successful coup and declared himself Emperor of France a position he held until September 1870
Adolphe Thiers 31st August 1871 – 24th May 1873
A critical opponent of Louis-Napoleon he took over after Louis-Napoleon’s government fell due to the Franco-Prussian War. He was unpopular and wanted to resign in 1872 but was persuaded to continue to 1873.
Patrice de Mac-Mahon 24th May 1873 – 30th January 1879
He was the Marshall of France and took over from Adolphe Thiers. The French Constitutional Laws that made France a Republic were passed in 1875. Mac-Mahon resigned in 1879.
Jules Grévy 30th January 1879 – 18th December 1885 and 18th December 1885 – 2nd December 1887
Took over after the resignation of Mac-Mahon. He was re-elected as President in 1885 but had to resign in 1887 after his son was implicated in an honours scandal.
Marie François Sadi Carnot 2nd December 1887 – 25th June 1894
Carnot was elected President following the resignation of Grévy. He was a popular President who had overseen the centenary celebrations of the French Revolution in 1889. He was assassinated on 25th June 1894
Jean Casimir-Perier 27th June 1894 – 16th January 1895
Became President following the assassination of Carnot. He resigned after just six months in office.
Félix Faure 17th January 1895 – 16th February 1899
Became President following the resignation of Perier. Was President during the Dreyfus affair. He died while in office.
Émile Loubet 18th February 1899 – 18th February 1906
Became President following the death of Faure, served for seven years but did not seek election.
Armand Fallières 18th February 1906 – 18th February 1913
Elected president in 1906. He was president during Agadir crisis and the forming of the Triple Entente. He did not seek re-election.
Raymond Poincaré 18th February 1913 – 18th February 1920
President of France during the First World War
Paul Deschanel 18th February 1920 – 21st September 1920
President for eight months then resigned due to ill health
Alexandre Millerand 23rd September 1920 – 11th June 1924
Millerand was an independent socialist who was President for four years before he resigned
Gaston Doumergue 13th June 1924 – 13th June 1931
He was the first Protestant President. He was anti Germany.
Paul Doumer 13th June 1931 – 7th May 1932
Assassinated after 11 months in office
Albert Lebrun 10th May 1932 – 11th July 1940
Served a seven year term then was re-elected but then World War Two broke out and France was occupied by the Nazis. Marshall Petain allied himself with the Germans and was treated as President.
Vincent Auriol 16th January 1947 – 16th January 1954
First President of the fourth Republic – after 7 years without a President
René Coty 16th January 1954 – 8th January 1959
President during the Algerian war he resigned after 5 years
Charles de Gaulle 8th January 1959 – 28th April 1969
Took over following the resignation of Coty in order to resolve the Algerian war. He introduced a new constitution thus creating the fifth Republic. He was re-elected in 1965. He resigned in 1969
Alain Poher 28th April 1969 – 20th June 1969
Served as interim President while an election was held to find de Gaulle’s successor
Georges Pompidou 20th June 1969 – 2nd April 1974
Former Prime Minister Georges Pompidou died before the end of his term
Alain Poher 2nd April 1974 – 27th May 1974
Served as interim President for a second time while and election was held to find Pompidou’s successor
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing 27th May 1974 – 21st May 1981
Had previously served under de Gaulle. He brought in several reforms including lowering the age of majority to 18 from 21. He lost the 1981 election to Mitterand.
François Mitterrand 21st May 1981 – 17th May 1995
Mitterand was the founder of the Socialist party in France and was elected as president in 1981. He was re-elected in 1988 and retired at the end of his second term. He was the longest serving President of the fifth Republic
Jacques Chirac 17th May 1995 – 16th May 2007
Chirac had served as Prime Minister twice from 1974-76 and 1986-88. He was re-elected in 2002 and during his second term the term of office for President was reduced from 7 years to 5 years.
Nicolas Sarkozy 16th May 2007 – 15th May 2012
Had previously served in a number of ministerial roles. While he was president he also served as President of the Council of the EU in 2008 as well as President of the G8 and G20 in 2011. He stood for re-election but was defeated.
François Hollande 15th May 2012 – 14th May 2017
Hollande defeated Sarkozy to become the second Socialist President.
Emmanuel Macron 14th May 2017 – Present Day
Centrist (En Marche)
Macron defeated Marine le Penn to become the first Centrist President.
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). Presidents of France 1848 to Present Day. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/presidents-of-france-1848-present-day. Last accessed July 19th, 2019