Le Siècle is an elite bi-partisan social club in France that meets once a month for dinner at the French Automobile Club in Paris's Place de la Concorde. Membership in Le Siècle "symbolizes the French nomenklatura" and includes France's top intellectuals, politicians, chief executives, journalists, and artists; since the 1970s, one-third to half of all French government ministers were members of Le Siècle, regardless of political affiliation or party membership. That percentage peaked at 72% under Prime Minister Édouard Balladur (1993–95). French journalist and writer Emmanuel Ratier wrote in 1996 that the club's membership controls 90% of French GDP. 
There are 580 members and 160 guests. Its president 2020-21, Olivier Duhamel resigned after confessing to sexual assault on his then teenage stepson.
According to economist Gaël Giraud, another of its goals is to discuss priority topics to be covered in the media, that is to say to guide French public opinion, explaining the very uniform tone of the corporate French media.
Le Siècle (English: 'the Century') was founded in 1944 by Georges Bérard-Quélin, a journalist and Freemason. The small group of the 1940s and 1950s eventually expanded to include major politicians across the political spectrum, from François Mitterrand, who was close associate of Bérard-Quélin, to Georges Pompidou via Pierre Mendès France. When a similar think tank called the Saint-Simon Foundation dissolved in 1999, many of its former members joined Le Siècle.
In the immediate post-war period, deep cleavages fragment the ruling class: resistance fighters against Vichy collaborators; bosses - liberal or right-wing - against senior planning officials; disunited political parties against a Communist Party at the height of its electoral results. Bérard-Quélin and his associates worked to reconcile the elites, and to exclude the communists.
Its recruitment process is very strict and shows that it is impossible to become a member without strong sponsorship from this very selective community. One cannot apply, only two members of the club, including a member of the board of directors, can nominate a candidate. Admission is subject to a vote: each member of the board of directors has a black ball (refusal) and a white ball (acceptance). Each black ball is worth two white. So you have to have 67% white balls to win. In addition, three black balls automatically result in the refusal of the candidate. Finally, the latter, at first, is simply "invited". This position can last for several years until his status is reviewed. Depending on the result, he will either become a member or dismissed.
"I really like Le Siècle," says Mrs. Martine Aubry, "I stopped going there in 1997 when I became minister. It was very interesting. I found myself at tables with extremely different people (...). The initiative can be perceived as totally elitist, but it remains a real meeting place. I learned a lot from it. Because, for me, real intelligence means trying to understand people who have a different logic." The former right-hand man of Mr. Jacques Delors, Mr. Pascal Lamy, current director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), explains his presence as a form of getting access: "It is important that the men on the left don't let the decision-makers be in contact only with the right." Others, like Pierre Moscovici, admit straight away that Le Siècle turns out to be" a very influential social network."
List of members (selection)
- Claude Bébéar, former CEO of AXA
- Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, former Minister Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry (2005-2007).
- Emmanuel Chain, former TV presenter on M6
- Jean-Marie Colombani, former editor-in-chief of Le Monde (1994-2007)
- Jean-François Copé, President of the Union for a Popular Movement; member of the French National Assembly (2002-incumbent); Mayor of Meaux (1995-2002; 2005-incumbent); former Minister of the Budget (2005-2007)
- Michèle Cotta, first female member in 1983; political journalist
- Anne-Marie Couderc, CEO of Presstalis
- Rachida Dati, Member of the European Parliament and Mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris; former Minister of Justice (2007-2009)
- Renaud Denoix de Saint Marc, member of the Constitutional Council of France (2007-incumbent)
- Olivier Duhamel, Vice-President of Le Siècle (2010-incumbent); professor at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris; former Socialist Member of the European Parliament (1997-2004)
- Laurent Fabius, former Prime Minister (1984-1986)
- François Fillon, Prime Minister (2007-2012); former Minister of National Education (2004-2005); former Minister of Social Affairs (2002-2004).
- Claude Imbert, founding editor of Le Point
- Odile Jacob, publisher.
- Denis Jeambar, journalist.
- Laurent Joffrin former editor-in-chief of Libération (2006-2011)>
- Lionel Jospin, former Prime Minister (1997-2002), former Minister of National Education (1988-1992); former Minister of Sport (1988-1991)
- Serge July, founding editor of Libération
- Denis Kessler, CEO of Scor, former President of Le Siècle (2007-2010)
- Étienne Lacour, Secretary General of Le Siècle; editor-in-chief of the Société Générale de Presse.
- Maurice Lévy, CEO of Publicis
- Henri Loyrette, Vice-President of Le Siècle (2010-incumbent); director of the Louvre Museum (2001-incumbent)
- Nicole Notat, President of Le Siècle (2010-incumbent); CEO of Vigeo; former Secretary General of the CFDT
- Michel Pébereau, CEO of BNP Paribas
- Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, newscaster on TF1
- Alain de Pouzilhac, former CEO of Havas
- David Pujadas, TV presenter on France 2
- Jean-Pierre Raffarin, member of the French Senate; former Prime Minister (2002-2005)
- Edouard de Rothschild
- Nicolas Sarkozy, French President (2007-2012).
- Louis Schweitzer, former CEO of Renault
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (2007-2011)
- Marc Tessier, Treasurer of Le Siècle (2010-incumbent); former Chairman of France Télévisions
- Philippe Villin, former Chairman of Le Figaro and France Soir
- Gérard Worms, former CEO of N M Rothschild & Sons
- Full article: Le Siècle/President
- Full article: Le Siècle/President