Yves Montand, Emanuel Ungaro, but even Jean-Paul Belmondo or Émile Zola, the greatest Frenchmen of all time, have an Italian heritage. Click and listen to their Italian surnames pronounced with a French accent.
Jean Alesi is the French Formula 1 racing driver who won many Grand Prix. He was born Giovanni Alesi, and he is the son of Sicilian parents who emigrated to France. His father was a mechanic and ran an automotive bodywork repair garage: that's where Alesi started to love cars.
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Loris Azzaro, the big name of the French fashion industry, was born in Tunisia under the French protectorate, to Sicilian parents. Before moving to Paris in 1962 and becoming a fashion designer, he was a teacher of French and Italian.
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Jean-Paul Belmondo, one of the most celebrated actors in France, is the son of Paul Belmondo, a sculptor born in French Algeria to a Sicilian father and a mother from Piemonte, in Northern Italy. In Italian, Belmondo is pronounced bel-MON-doh, stressing the second syllable; in French, the stress goes to the last syllable: bel-mon-DOH.
Click Jean-Paul Belmondo and listen to the French pronunciation of his name.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the "Emperor of the French," was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, in August 1769: less than one year after the Treaty of Versailles (the 15th of June in 1768), stated that the Republic of Genoa had to cede Corsica to France. For just a few months, Napoleon Bonaparte is not Italian.
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Georges Brassens, the most important singer-songwriter in France, grew up in a modest family with a French father, Jean-Louis Brassens, a construction worker, and an Italian mother, Elvira Dagrosa, born in the region of Basilicata.
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Pierre Cardin was born in 1922 in Sant'Andrea di Barbarana in the province of Treviso, and his real name was Pietro Cardin, pronounced in Italian: car-deen.
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Yves Montand, the famous French actor and singer, was born as Ivo Livi, in Monsummano Terme, in the province of Pistoia (Tuscany). His family left Italy in 1923 to escape the Fascist regime and settle in France, where he became the celebrity we all know.
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Daniel Pennac, the creator of Monsieur Malaussène, was born in Morocco to a family of Italian descent: his real name is Daniel Pennacchioni, an Italian last name.
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Michel Piccoli, the award-winning French actor, has a last name that immediately reveals its Italian origin. If he were one hundred percent French, he would be Mr. Michel Petits… and in English, he would be Michael Small. We don’t know, though, how back in time his Italian descent goes.
Listen to the correct pronunciation of Michel Piccoli.
Michel Platini, the former French football player, was born in the Lorraine region, but his mother, Anna Piccinelli, was originally from Belluno, in the region of Veneto, and his paternal grandparents were from the province of Novara, in Piemonte.
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Emanuel Ungaro, the famous French fashion designer, inherited both his last name and talent from his father, a tailor from Apulia, in Southern Italy.
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Émile Zola, one of the greatest French writers, was born in Paris in 1840, but his father, Francesco Antonio Giuseppe Maria Zolla, was an Italian engineer born in Venice in 1795.
Click Émile Zola and listen to the French pronunciation of his name.