The Franco-Cameroonian singer shot to fame in 1983 when he won the French Open, Roland Garros, becoming the first Frenchmen to do so in 37 years. Since retiring from professional tennis in the late 1990s Noah has become a popular singer in France.
For the past 55 years the French Sunday newspaper, Journal Du Dimanche together with the Ifop poll-taker have published annually the Top 50 Most Popular French Personalities. Noah has held the top spot for eight years running.
Omar Sy, the Oscar-nominated actor, and Jean Dujardin who won Best Actor in this year’s Oscar Awards, were voted second and third most popular personalities respectively. The footballer, and former captain of the French national team, Zinédine Zidane, was knocked off the third spot he held last year to fifth in this year's poll.
The French president, François Hollande, moved up 33 places to become the 15th most popular French personality. And the environmental documentary-maker turned politician, Nicolas Hulot, also made large gains on last year’s poll that put him in 27th place to 10th this year. Hulot was defeated by Eva Joly in a vote to determine the presidential candidate for the Green Party in the election earlier this year.
Only two women made it into the top ten most popular French personalities. The comedian, Florence Foresti is number seven and the politician Simone Veil is tenth on the list. Veil is one of the most widely known Jewish people in France. She was deported to a German labour camp during World War Two and her parents were both killed by the Nazis.
While most of the personalities in the top ten have benefitted from air time on television, the impressionist Laurent Gerra, reaches millions of people via the radio through his 10-minute slot from Monday to Friday.