Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Giscard1979 (cropped).jpg
President Giscard d'Estaing in 1979
President of France
In office
27 May 1974 – 21 May 1981
Prime MinisterJacques Chirac
Raymond Barre
Preceded byGeorges Pompidou
Succeeded byFrançois Mitterrand
President of the Regional Council of Auvergne
In office
21 March 1986 – 2 April 2004
Preceded byMaurice Pourchon
Succeeded byPierre-Joël Bonté
Minister of Finance
In office
20 June 1969 – 27 May 1974
Prime MinisterJacques Chaban-Delmas
Pierre Messmer
Preceded byFrançois-Xavier Ortoli
Succeeded byJean-Pierre Fourcade
In office
18 January 1962 – 8 January 1966
Prime MinisterMichel Debré
Georges Pompidou
Preceded byWilfrid Baumgartner
Succeeded byMichel Debré
Mayor of Chamalières
In office
15 September 1967 – 19 May 1974
Preceded byPierre Chatrousse
Succeeded byClaude Wolff
Personal details
BornValéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing
(1926-02-02) 2 February 1926 (age 92)
Koblenz, French-occupied Germany
Political partyNational Centre of Independents and Peasants (1956–1962)
Independent Republicans (1962–1977)
Republican Party (1977–1995)
Union for French Democracy (1978–2002)
Popular Party for French Democracy (1995–1997)
Liberal Democracy (1997–1998)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2004)
Spouse(s)Anne-Aymone Sauvage de Brantes (m. 1952)
ChildrenValérie-Anne (1953)
Henri (1956)
Louis (1958)
Jacinte (1960–2018)
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique
École nationale d'administration

Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing (French: [valeʁi ʒiskaʁ destɛ̃]; born 2 February 1926),[1] also known as Giscard or VGE, is a French author and elder statesman who served as President of the French Republic from 1974 to 1981 and is now a member of the Constitutional Council of France.[2] At age 92, Giscard, a centrist, is currently the oldest living former French President.

As Minister of Finance under Prime Ministers Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Pierre Messmer, he won the presidential election of 1974 with 50.8% of the vote against François Mitterrand of the Socialist Party. His tenure was marked by a more liberal attitude on social issues—such as divorce, contraception, and abortion—and attempts to modernise the country and the office of the presidency, notably launching such far-reaching infrastructure projects as the high-speed TGV and the turn towards reliance on nuclear power as France's main energy source. However, his popularity suffered from the economic downturn that followed the 1973 energy crisis, marking the end of the "thirty glorious years" after World War II. Giscard faced political opposition from both sides of the spectrum: from the newly unified left of François Mitterrand, and from a rising Jacques Chirac, who resurrected Gaullism on a right-wing opposition line. In 1981, despite a high approval rating, he missed out on re-election in a runoff against Mitterrand, with a 48.2% to 51.8% margin.[3]

As a former president, he is a member of the Constitutional Council. He also served after his tenure as President of France as President of the Regional Council of Auvergne from 1986 to 2004. Involved with the European Union, he notably presided over the Convention on the Future of Europe that drafted the ill-fated Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. In 2003, he was elected to the Académie française, taking the seat that his friend and former president of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor had held.


Valéry Marie René Giscard d'Estaing was born on 2 February 1926 in Koblenz, Germany, during the French occupation of the Rhineland. He is the elder son of Jean Edmond Lucien Giscard d'Estaing (29 March 1894 – 3 August 1982), a high-ranking civil servant, and his wife, Marthe Clémence Jacqueline Marie (May) Bardoux (6 May 1901 – 13 March 2003).

His mother was a daughter of senator and academic Achille Octave Marie Jacques Bardoux, making her a great-granddaughter of minister of state education Agénor Bardoux. She was also, through her own mother, a granddaughter of historian Georges Picot, a niece of diplomat François Georges-Picot, and a great-great-great-granddaughter of King Louis XV of France by one of his mistresses, Catherine Eléonore Bernard (1740–1769), through her great-grandfather Marthe Camille Bachasson, Count of Montalivet, by whom Giscard d'Estaing was a multiple descendant of Charlemagne.

Giscard had an older sister, Sylvie (1924–2008). He has a younger brother, Olivier (born 1927), as well as two younger sisters: Isabelle (born 1935) and Marie-Laure (born 1939). Despite the addition of "d'Estaing" to the family name by his grandfather, Giscard is not descended from the extinct noble family of Vice-Admiral d'Estaing, that name being adopted by his grandfather in 1922 by reason of a distant connection to another branch of that family,[4] from which they were descended with two breaks in the male line from an illegitimate line of the Viscounts d'Estaing.

He joined the French Resistance and participated in the Liberation of Paris; during the liberation he was tasked with protecting Alexandre Parodi. He then joined the French First Army and served until the end of the war. He was later awarded the Croix de guerre for his military service.

In 1948, he spent a year in Montreal, Canada, where he worked as a teacher at Collège Stanislas.[5]

He studied at Lycée Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, École Gerson and Lycées Janson-de-Sailly and Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He graduated from the École Polytechnique and the École nationale d'administration (1949–1951) and chose to enter the prestigious Inspection des finances. He acceded to the Tax and Revenue Service, then joined the staff of Prime Minister Edgar Faure (1955–1956). He is fluent in German.[6]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Valeri Jiskar d'Esten
Lëtzebuergesch: Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Valéry Giscard dʻEstaing
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
粵語: 季斯卡