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Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part A (#307)

The last couple of posts looked at who web-users voted as their favourite ANGLOPHONE Québécois.

The next few posts will look at who web-users voted as their favourite FRANCOPHONE Québécois.

Although these rankings may not be scientific (anyone can cast their votes anytime on Rankopedia), the rankings are probably not far from reality.

One thing I have noticed is that many of the personalities “span the ages”.  This means that people of all ages must have voted, because some people may be well known to people over 40 or 50, but not necessarily as well known to someone in their 20s or 30s.

Let’s take a look…


1.  Celine Dion

  • Pop Singer (Born and raised in the greater Montréal region)
  • I don’t think I need to say anything more about Celine (is there anyone who doesn’t know her?).
  • I will however say that recently she has unfortunately been (inadvertently & unwillingly) dragged into politics for the first time in 25 years by her politically overzealous friend, Julie Snyder.  It’s actually quite sad (like others, I feel bad for Celine).  I wrote a post about it which you can read it by CLICKING HERE.

2.  Gilles Villeneuve


  • Race Driver (From St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec.  An interesting sidenote:  St-Jean is the city where the French-language Royal Military College of Canada is located.  It is one of two military colleges, with the English language college located in Kingston, Ontario [for American readers, this would be the Canadian equivalent of Westpoint].
  • Canada’s first Formula One superstar from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.   Winner of six Grands Prix.
  • Accredited with making large segments of both Québec and Canada society hooked on Formula One.
  • Tragically killed in a track accident in 1982.
  • Owing to his God-like status among fans at the time of his death, he has become a permanent emotional fixture in Québec’s collective psyche, and is still regularly talked about today.

3.  Jacques Villeneuve


  • Race Driver (Born St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec, Raised in both Québec and Switzerland).
  • Son of Gilles Villeneuve (above).
  • The hopes of a Formula One-hooked society were transplanted from Gilles Villeneuve to his son Jacques when he began to walk in his father’s shoes.
  • Those hopes were realized as Jacques Villeneuve began to win racing championships which placed him among the best in the world.
  • The peak of his glory peaked in the 1990s when he was the 1995 Indi 500 champion, the 1995 PPG Indi World Series champion, and the 1997 Formula One champion.
  • In Québec, Villeneuve has pretty much walked on water for much of his life.

Here is an interview with Jacques in ENGLISH for you.

4.  Julie Payette


  • Astronaut (Montréal, born & raised).
  • She has captured the imagination of kids and die-hard space fans across the country (Payette has lived and worked all across Canada, including as a captain at the Air Base, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – a city I have always thought of as my second or third hometown owing to all the family I have there).
  • Was the chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) based in Longueuil, Québec (the Canadian equivalent of NASA).
  • Was flight crew aboard the shuttle Discovery and mission specialist aboard the shuttle Endeavour.
  • She is a director of the Bank of Canada, and also a host of Découverte (the French-language equivalent of something like Quirks and Quarks meets The Nature of Things).

Here is a speech she gave in ENGLISH

Here is a short clip of her hosting the very popular FRENCH-language television program Découverte.

5.  Georges St-Pierre


  • Mixed Martial Arts fighter (From St-Jean-sur-Richelieu).
  • His role as a world champion fighter brought the sport to the forefront in Québec and to sold-out shows in his sport across Canada (even to this day).
  • I already wrote a post on St-Pierre.  You can read it by clicking HERE (Québec’s Rough’n Toughs)
  • The last few years, he has been treated as a pop-culture celebrity in Québec, brining guaranteed viewer ratings to any television program he appears on.

We’ll look at more web-users’ “Favorite” Québec personalities in the next few posts.



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts

L’Été indien (#29)

No, the subject of this post is not about the classic 1975 song from France, sung by Joe Dassin “L’Été indien” (one of the most famous and greatest known French songs of all time).

Rather, this is about Julie Snyder having pulled off another big one… and this time she did it big!  “L’Été Indien” (Indian Summer) is a 4-part Television series airing every Sunday in September.   It’s the largest ever Québec-France co-production variety show being shown to both publics on television on both sides of the ocean.   However it is almost completely filmed in Québec.

It aired in August in France.  Sneak-peak views at the ratings indicate that during August, it was the #1 viewed program in France with about 4 million views.   The first two airings have already taken place in Canada, and it was the #1 watched program on TVA at the time, with an audience of 2 million the 1st episode, and 1.6 million the second episode.

It is set on a giant outdoor stage in the old port of Montréal, with the Montréal downtown skyline as a backdrop.  It is co-hosted by Julie Snyder representing us on this side of the ocean, and Michel Drucker (arguably one of France’s best known TV hosts / presenters / interviewers spanning a 40 year career) representing France.   It is broadcast on TVA in Québec and Canada, and TV5 in France.  It is also being broadcast in 200 countries via TV5 monde.

The invitees include the biggest of the big Francophone celebrities, both throughout the decades, and some more recent — from Québec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Belgium, France, and even one from the UK.  It’s clear it took a gigantic international endeavour to make this show.   200 employees are involved, and I can’t even imagine how many flights needed to be booked to pull this one off.

Not only do the celebrities participate in one-on-one and group interviews with Snyder and Drucker, but in addition to providing performances on the large outdoor stage, they also participate in various activities around Québec in a fun and relaxed environment.  This might be the first time some of these celebrities have ever been seen before in such a light.  The show also projects and image of Québec not often seen by the public around the world.

Originally an idea between René Angelil (Celine’s husband) and Michel Drucker, Julie took the reigns and has brought us this star-studded line-up that has everyone talking.   When you read the line-up of invitees below, all appearing in just 4 episodes, all on stage in Montréal, and then crisscrossing Québec in groups on numerous mini-adventures, you’ll understand just how big of an undertaking L’Éte Indien actually is — and what the international media frenzy and fuss has all been about…

  • Celine Dion – Québec – (Julie’s personal good friend): She and Julie kicked off the first episode by water skiing together down the St. Lawerence, right onto the stage (that set the tone for the entire show, right from the get-go).
  • Stromae – Belgium – One of the current chart-topping singers across the Francophone world (including in Québec)
  • Roch Voisine – Nouveau-Brunswick/Acadie – One of Canada’s long-time famous singers in both French and English.
  • Véronique DiCaire – Ontario – Famous Montréwood and Ontaroise singer, having performed with some of the biggest names in the industry, and having become a star in her own right.
  • Fred Pellerin – Québec – a famous (and rather young) story-teller, bringing his stories to life through song and oral story recitals. His tiny home village of St-Elie-de-Claxton (Québec), has become a tourist attraction because of the attention Pellerin has brought to it through his stories.
  • Francis Cabrel – France – one of France’s most famous singers, whose career has spanned decades (Fred Pellerin took Cabrel home to his small village of St-Elie in one of the episodes).
  • Marc Labreche – Québec – topic of a former blog post.  Famous comedian.
  • Martin Matte  Québec – Famous TV sitcom actor and comedian (the last post on the Gémeaux Awards mentioned he cleaned house at the gala this week).
  • Garou – Québec – For almost two decades, he has been one of the most famous and best known singers in Québec and France.
  • Mika UK (originally from Lebanon) – Well known to an Anglophone public with several English language hits a few years ago. He is now singing in French and cleaning up the charts in numerous Francophone countries (he has Lebanese Francophone roots, lived a few years in France as a child, but has mostly grown up in the UK).
  • Cœur de Pirate Québec – Famous (and quite young) singer who has attained huge musical achievements, success and fame in a very short period of time (both in Québec and France).
  • Xavier Dolan – Québec – Internationally award winning movie director. In the history of movies, he is one of the youngest people in his profession to have ever achieved so much international acclaim at such as young age.
  • Vincent NicloFrance – Famous singer and actor.
  • Patrick BruelFrance – One France’s most famous singers, whose career has spanned decades.
  • Karim OuelletQuébec – A relatively newer chart-topping singer, he has won some of Québec and Canada’s biggest awards in music (a Juno, le Prix Félix-Leclerc). He grew up in numerous countries (his father was a Canadian diplomat), but calls Québec home.
  • CorneilleQuébec – A wildly popular singer in Québec with a funk-R’n’B sound. His personal story (having survived the Rwandan Genocide, while his family did not) has captured the hearts of the public.
  • Ginette RenoQuébec – The subject of a previous post — a super star.
  • Robert CharleboisQuébec – Considered one of the legends and “founding fathers” of contemporary Québec music, in terms of style, language, and tone. His career has brought him from the 1960s to today, and it continues to go strong.
  • Marie-Mai – Ontario – The subject of a previous post.  A wildly popular singer.
  • Isabelle BoulayQuébec – Mentioned in the post “Québec = Country”. A celebrity singer who’s music has been popular for around 15 years.
  • Rachid BadouriQuébec – A very popular comedian, performing both at home in Québec, and also in France, on stage and on television.
  • Mylène PaquetteQuébec – She was the first North American female to row solo across the Atlantic ocean. She has achieved celebrity status in Québec as a result, and was named as 2013 personality of the year by various media.
  • Stéphane RousseauQuébec – A very famous actor and comedian, he is often seen on television and movies in many roles. If he’s not acting in a certain role, he is being interviewed, doing stand-up comedy, or seen in advertisements.
  • Anne RoumanoffFrance – A very famous French comedian.
  • (An honourable mention for) Denis Coderre Québec – the Mayor of Montréal (and long-term MP and former Liberal cabinet minister), he participated in the program by presenting the keys to the city to Michel Drucker.
  • Linda LemayQuébec – A famous celebrity singer with a long career in both Québec and France.

With such a celebrity line up and interesting program format, this is one show you might not want to miss.  The last two episodes will air Sunday, September 21st and 28th at 7:00pm on TVA (which is carried in many regions across Canada).

The official website is http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/eteindien/.

TVA has posted numerous official footage out-takes on YouTube.  You can begin your search for them by clicking HERE. (please stick to official footage only).

Amusez-vous bien!