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Le Figaro
Front page
Type Daily newspaper
Format Berliner
Owner Socpresse
Editor Nicolas Beytout
Founded 15 January 1826
as a daily newspaper:
16 November 1866
Political alignment Centre-right
Language French
Headquarters 14 Boulevard Haussman
F-75009 Paris
ISSN 0182-5852
Official website

Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is the oldest and second-largest national newspaper in France after Aujourd'hui en France and before Le Monde. "Le Journal de Beaumarchais"—nicknamed for its Beaumarchais' character name Figaro —is regarded as a national newspaper of record. Its editorial line is center-right and has generally been supportive of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Its circulation was 320,003 in 2008 (366,529 in 2001).

Le Figaro is owned by Socpresse, also known as Groupe Le Figaro, which publishes many other newspapers, magazines, web sites and television channels. The company's chairman is Serge Dassault, whose group has controlled the paper since 2004.

The Parisian paper was founded as a satirical weekly in 1826, taking its name and motto from Le Mariage de Figaro, a play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. (The motto, "Sans la liberté de blâmer, il n'est point d'éloge flatteur" translates as "Without the freedom to criticise, there is no true praise".) It was published somewhat irregularly until 1854, when it was taken over by Hippolyte de Villemessant. By 1866 it had gained the greatest circulation of any newspaper in France; its first daily edition, that of 16 November 1866 sold 56,000 copies. Albert Wolff, Émile Zola, Alphonse Karr and Jules Claretie were among the paper's early contributors.

On March 16, 1914, Gaston Calmette, the editor of Le Figaro, was assassinated by Henriette Caillaux, the wife of a former Prime Minister of France, after he published a letter that cast serious doubt on her husband's integrity.[1]

By the start of World War II, Le Figaro had become France's leading newspaper. After the war it became the voice of the upper middle class, and continues to maintain a conservative position.

In 1922 Le Figaro was purchased by perfume millionaire François Coty.[2] In 1975 Le Figaro was bought by Robert Hersant. In 1999 the Carlyle Group obtained a 40% stake in the paper, which it later sold in March 2002. As of 2004, Le Figaro is controlled by Serge Dassault, a conservative businessman and politician best known for running the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, which he inherited from his father, its founder, Marcel (1892–1986).

Highly controversial both inside and outside the newspaper is its ownership by a person who also controls a major military supplier, as well as being a mayor and senator from the ruling UMP party, and whose son Olivier Dassault is a member of the French National Assembly for the same party.[3] In response, Dassault remarked in an interview on the public radio station France Inter,[4] that "newspapers must promulgate healthy ideas", and that "left-wing ideas are not healthy ideas."

See also


  1. ^ Sarah Sissmann and Christophe Barbier, "Une épouse outragée", L'Express, 30 August 2004. Retrieved on 27 January 2007.
  2. ^ Janet Flanner (3 May 1930),"Perfume and Politics", The New Yorker. Republished on 7 May 2005. Retrieved on 27 January 2007.
  3. ^ "Dassault se sépare d'Yves de Chaisemartin", Le Figaro, 1 October 2004. Retrieved on 27 January 2007.
  4. ^ "M. Dassault veut une presse aux « idées saines »", Le Monde, 12 December 2004. Retrieved on 27 January 2007.

External links



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