|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (February 2012)|
The pageant is held each year in December, and the winner is designated by the year that begins in the ensuing January. Rights to the trademark are owned by the company Miss France SAS, whose director general is Sylvie Tellier, Miss France 2002. Local and regional pageants that provide entrants for the Miss France contest are organized by the Comité Miss France, whose emblematic president was Geneviève de Fontenay during 20 years.
The pageant is contested by regional winners of local contests from Metropolitan France and its overseas territories. The method of choosing the winner has varied over the years, ordinarily with a jury of celebrities choosing a set of finalists. The winner in recent years was chosen by a weighting of the jury's opinion and votes of television viewers of the pageant (who pay a fee for each vote). For the Miss France 2010 contest, the winner was chosen entirely by the votes of viewers for the first time.
To become Miss France, it is necessary:
- to be born female and of French nationality or naturalization,
- to have an age of 18 to 24 years on November 15 of the year of the contest,
- to be at least 1.70 meters tall,
- to be never married and without children
- to have a clean police record
One should not:
- have had her image exploited in a manner that could be incompatible or pose an obstacle to the organizers' rights,
- have taken part in a competing pageant,
- have appearance prosthetics (wig, colored contact lenses, etc.),
- have visible tattoos or piercings (except earrings).
- have ever posed partially or completely naked. Doing so after winning is also prohibited, and causes definitive loss of the title.
La plus belle femme de France
The first organizer of the Miss France contest was Maurice de Waleffe, a journalist. In 1920 he organized a beauty contest whose winner was to be chosen by filmgoers. The contest was called "La plus belle femme de France" -- "The most beautiful woman of France".
The first contest had 1,700 entrants, from which a jury chose 49 finalists. Each week for seven weeks, filmgoers received a ballot with seven different names. The winner was Agnès Souret. The contest was repeated in 1921, with the winner Pauline Pô, after which it was discontinued.
In 1926, the contest winner was called "Miss France" for the first time. The contest was discontinued after the 1940 contest because of World War II, and de Waleffe died in 1946.
Starting in 1947, several different groups organized national beauty contests, some of which carried the name Miss France. One of them, founded by Jean Raibaut, was formally organized under the name "Club Charly's" in 1950. The contest organized by Endemol traces its roots to a contest run by an informal group led by Guy Rinaldo and Louis de Fontenay that called itself "Comité Miss France" and crowned its first winner in 1947. After the commencement of the Miss World contest in 1951 and the Miss Universe contest in 1952, the "Comité Miss France" formally organized in 1954, with Rinaldo as president, under the name "Comité Miss France - Miss Europe - Miss Universe."
In these early days, however, the organizers of the global contests did not necessarily have entrants who had won what might be considered the corresponding national contest. The entrant for Miss Universe 1953 from France, for instance, was Christiane Martel, who had won the Miss Cinémonde contest, also organized by Rinaldo, and not Sylviane Carpentier, who had won the Miss France contest. Similarly, the entrant for Miss World 1953 was Denise Perrier. As a result, even though France won both the Miss World and Miss Universe contests in 1953, two different women were the winners, and neither was the winner of the Miss France contest.
The Miss France War
The administrative secretary of the "Comité Miss France - Miss Europe - Miss Universe" was Geneviève Mulmann, who along with Louis de Fontenay ousted Rinaldo on September 14, 1956. Louis and Geneviève subsequently both took the name de Fontenay, presented themselves as a married couple and had two children together, though they never married. Rinaldo formed a rival association called the "Comité Miss France de Paris". And "Club Charly's" continued to name its own Miss France. Several lawsuits and countersuits ensued.
The war claimed its first injury in April 1983. The de Fontenay committee had deposed Isabelle Turpault for posing for nude photographs. After Turpault made some disparaging remarks about Geneviève de Fontenay, Turpault alleged that one of the de Fontenay children, Xavier, punched her on the Champs-Élysées.
In 1986, Geneviève de Fontenay registered the trademark "Miss France" with the Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle (INPI), and defended it from a challenge by the Rinaldo committee. She renewed the trademark in 1996.
In 1999, Eric Morley, founder and organizer of the Miss World contest, revoked the license of the de Fontenay committee and awarded it to the Rinaldo committee, headed by Antoine de Villejoie after Rinaldo's death in 1991. The license was subsequently awarded to Endemol, and starting in 2005 the winner of the Endemol contest or her designated replacement has participated in Miss World.
Miss World and Miss Universe
In the early years of the Miss World and Miss Universe contests, it was rare for the winner of the Miss France contest to compete in both (see table below). From 1961 to 1993, however, the winner of Miss France, or her runner-up, generally competed in Miss World.
The first winner of the Miss France contest to compete in both the Miss World and Miss Universe contests was Michèle Boulé in 1966. However, she was stripped of her Miss France title by the de Fontenay committee for unspecified reasons.
In 1971, the Miss France winner, Myriam Stocco, competed in both the Miss World and Miss Universe contests. From then until 1993, 17 of the 23 Miss France winners competed in both global contests.
Starting in 1994, the de Fontenay committee stopped sending the winner or runner-up to Miss World, a situation that led to the shift of the license to the Rinaldo committee in 1999. Since 2005, however, the entrant in both global contests has been the winner of the Miss France contest organized by Endemol or her designated replacement.
Representatives of France
La plus belle femme de France
Pre-World War II
|1933||Emilienne Quesson de Souza|
Post-World War II
Boldface indicates winner of the Miss Universe or Miss World pageant ( the only winners from France were in the two contests held in 1953.)
- Winner of Miss France contest
- First runner-up in Miss France contest
- Second runner-up in Miss France contest
- Third runner-up in Miss France contest
- Fourth runner-up in Miss France contest
|Year||Miss France||Miss World France||Miss Universe France||Miss Earth France|
|1951||Nicole Drouin||Jacqueline Lemoine|
|1952||Josiane Pouy||Nicole Drouin (4th runner up)||Claude Godart|
|1953||Sylviane Carpentier||Denise Perrier (Miss World)||Christiane Martel (Miss Universe)|
|1954||Irène Tunc||Claudine Bleuse (3rd runner up)||Jacqueline Beer (Top 16)|
|1955||Véronique Zuber||Gisele Thierry (5th runner up)||Claudie Petit|
|1956||Maryse Fabre||Genevieve Solare||Anita Treyens (Top 15)|
|1957||Sylvie-Rosine Numez||Claude Inès Navarro (5th runner up)||Lisa Simon|
|1958||Monique Negler||Claudine Auger (1st runner up)||Monique Boulinguez|
|1959||Monique Chiron||Marie Hélène Trové||Françoise St-Laurent (Top 15)|
|1960||Brigitte Barazer de Lannurien||Diane Medina (Top 15)||Florence Eyrie|
|1961||Luce Auger||Michèle Wargnier (3rd runner up)||Simone Darot (Top 15)|
|1962||Monique Lemaire||Monique Lemaire (2nd runner up)||Sabine Surget|
|1963||Muguette Fabris||Muguette Fabris (6th runner up)||Monique Lemaire (Top 15)|
|1964||Jacqueline Gayraud||Jacqueline Gayraud (Top 16)||Edith Noël (Top 10)|
|1965||Christiane Sibellin||Christiane Sibellin (Top 16)||Marie-Thérèse Tullio|
|1966||Michèle Boulé||Michèle Boulé (Top 15)||Michèle Boulé|
|1967||Jeanne Beck||Carole Noe (Top 15)||Anne Vernier|
|1968||Christiane Lillio||Nelly Gallerne (Top 15)||Elizabeth Cadren (Top 15)|
|1969||Suzanne Angly||Suzanne Angly (Top 15)||Agathe Cognet|
|1970||Michelle Beaurain||Michelle Beaurain||Françoise Durand-Behot|
|1971||Myriam Stocco||Myriam Stocco (6th runner up)||Myriam Stocco (5th runner up)|
|1972||Claudine Cassereau||Claudine Cassereau||Claudine Cassereau|
|1973||Isabelle Nadia Krumacker||Isabelle Nadia Krumacker||Isabelle Nadia Krumacker|
|1974||Edna Tepava||Edna Tepava||Brigitte Marie Flayac|
|1975||Sophie Sonia Perin||Sophie Sonia Perin||Sophie Sonia Perin|
|1976||Monique Uldaric||Monique Uldaric||Monique Uldaric|
|1977||Véronique Fagot||Véronique Fagot (Top 15)||Véronique Fagot|
|1978||Brigitte Konjovic||Kelly Hoarau||Brigitte Konjovic|
|1979||Sylvie Hélène Marie Parera||Sylvie Hélène Marie Parera||Sylvie Hélène Marie Parera|
|1980||Patricia Barzyk||Patricia Barzyk (1st runner up)||Brigitte Choquet|
|1981||Isabelle Sophie Benárd||Isabelle Sophie Benárd||Isabelle Sophie Benárd|
|1982||Sabrina Belleval||Martine Marie Philipps||Martine Marie Philipps|
|1983||Frederique Marcelle Leroy||Frederique Marcelle Leroy||Frederique Marcelle Leroy|
|1984||Martine Robine||Martine Robine||Martine Robine|
|1985||Suzanne Iskandar||Nathalie Jones||Suzanne Iskandar|
|1986||Valérie Pascale||Catherine Carew||Catherine Carew|
|1987||Nathalie Marquay||Nathalie Marquay (6th runner up)||Nathalie Marquay|
|1988||Sylvie Bertin||Claudia Frittolini||Claudia Frittolini|
|1989||Stephanie (Peggy) Zlotkowski||Stephanie (Peggy) Zlotkowski||Pascale Meotti|
|1990||Gaëlle Voiry||Gaëlle Voiry||Gaëlle Voiry|
|1991||Maréva Georges||Maréva Georges (Top 10)||Maréva Georges (Top 10)|
|1992||Linda Hardy||Linda Hardy||Linda Hardy|
|1993||Véronique de la Cruz||Véronique de la Cruz (6th runner up)||Véronique de la Cruz|
|1994||Valérie Claisse||Radiah Latidine||Valérie Claisse|
|1995||Mélody Vilbert||Hélène Lantoine||Corinne Lauret|
|1996||Laure Belleville||Séverine Deroualle||Laure Belleville|
|1997||Patricia Spehar||Laure Belleville||Patricia Spehar|
|1998||Sophie Thalmann||Véronique Caloc (1st runner up)||Sophie Thalmann|
|1999||Maréva Galanter||Sandra Bretones||Maréva Galanter|
|2000||Sonia Rolland||Karine Meier||Sonia Rolland (Top 10)|
|2001||Élodie Gossuin||Emmanuelle Chossat||Élodie Gossuin (Top 10)|
|2002||Sylvie Tellier||Caroline Chamorand||Sylvie Tellier|
|2003||Corinne Coman||Virginie Dubois||Emmanuelle Chossat|
|2004||Lætitia Bléger||Lætitia Marciniak||Lætitia Bléger|
|2005||Cindy Fabre||Cindy Fabre||Cindy Fabre|
|2006||Alexandra Rosenfeld||Laura Fasquel||Alexandra Rosenfeld|
|2007||Rachel Legrain-Trapani||Rachel Legrain-Trapani||Rachel Legrain-Trapani|
|2008||Valérie Bègue||Laura Tanguy||Laura Tanguy|
|2009||Chloé Mortaud||Chloé Mortaud (3rd runner up)||Chloé Mortaud (Top 10)|
|2010||Malika Ménard||Virginie Dechenaud (Top 25)||Malika Ménard (Top 15)|
|2011||Laury Thilleman||Clémence Oleksy||Laury Thilleman (Top 10)|
|2012||Delphine Wespiser||Delphine Wespiser||Marie Payet (Top 10)|
|2013||Marine Lorphelin||Marine Lorphelin (1st runner up, Miss World Europe)||Hinarani de Longeaux||Sophie Garenaux (Top 16)|
Disputes and vacancies
The title has been declared vacant on several occasions, with the runner-up generally fulfilling the term of the winner.
|1935||Elisabeth Pitz||Giselle Preville||Pitz returned her crown after 2 hours and was replaced by Preville.|
|1954||Irène Tunc||Danielle Génault||No reason given, though Tunc was already starting to appear in movies.|
|1956||Maryse Fabre||Gisèle Charbit||Fabre's election rescinded after public protests. Charbit was elected the following evening.|
|1961||Luce Auger||Michèle Wargnier||Auger deposed for being a mother, even though she had informed the organizers.|
|1966||Michèle Boulé||Monique Boucher||No reason given, although Boulé competed in both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.|
|1972||Chantal Bouvier de la Motte||Claudine Cassereau||Resigned because of injuries from a fall from a horse.|
|1978||Pascale Taurua||Brigitte Konjovic||Taurua resigned to return to New Caledonia rather than stay in France for a year. The first runner-up, Kelly Hoarau from Reunion Island, declined also, but competed in the Miss World contest. Konjovic, second runner-up, took the position and competed in Miss Universe.|
|1983||Isabelle Turpault||Frederique Marcelle Leroy||Deposed for posing nude in a magazine.|
|1988||Sylvie Bertin||Claudia Frittolini||Deposed for refusing to participate in Miss Universe contest.|
|2004||Laetitia Bléger||Lucie Degletagne||Deposed for six months for posing nude in Playboy. Restored after apologizing. Successfully sued her agent for manipulating her.|
|2008||Valérie Bègue||Laura Tanguy||Repudiated by Geneviève de Fontenay for "scandalous" photos in a magazine, but retained her title with the support of Endemol. She agreed not to compete in the global contests. The first runner-up, Miss New Caledonia, Vahinerii Requillart, decided to not compete in Miss Universe because she wanted to continue studying. Tanguy, the second runner-up, competed in the Miss World and Miss Universe contests.|
- Passion Miss
- (French) Official site
- Official Maldives partner page for 2011
- http://passionmiss.xooit.fr/index.php (Site for fans, in French)
- La vérité tirée du chapeau ("The truth pulled out of the hat", in French)
- Miss France controversy (summary, in English, of parts of "La vérité tirée du chapeau")
- Miss France registration form (in French)
- MISS FRANCE SAS sur SOCIETE.COM (in French)
- WIPO Domain Name Decision (in French)
- L'entreprise "Miss France" (in French)
- "Le salaire de Marine Lorphelin, Miss France 2013, dévoilé". 8 July 2013. "L’ex-Miss Bourgogne sacrée reine de beauté, touche 3 000 euros tous les mois. Une somme à laquelle il faut rajouter pour près de 100 000 euros de cadeaux en nature (bijoux, voiture, voyage, ordinateur portable, abonnement d’un an dans une salle de gym)."
- Miss France 2010 : Malika Ménard élue avec 34% des votes du public (in French)
- La société Miss France (in French)
- Critical Beauty - The Miss France Controversy
- Critical Beauty - The Miss France Controversy
- "Miss World and Miss France Statement Issued by Eric Morley", reprinted in "La vérité tirée du chapeau," pp. 132-133
- Palmarès des Miss France depuis 1920 à nos jours (in French)
- Won previous year's Miss France contest.
- MissWorld.com : History 1954
- MissWorld.com : History 1955
- MissWorld.com : History 1957
- Miss World 2006: Meet the Contestants Rosenfeld declined to participate in Miss World after a "sour experience" at Miss Universe.
- Irène Tunc at IMDB.com
- "Il lui a fallu six ans de procedure pour reconquerir son titre de Miss France", L'Aurore, 7 April 1967, reprinted in "La vérité tirée du chapeau", p. 85 (in French). Despite the title of the article, Luce Auger did not regain her title.
- Miss France Valerie Begue Photos Scandal
- Vahinerii Requillart décline l'offre du Comité Miss France