Here's a test for some of you Francophiles out there. Who do you think the most popular (French) person in France is?
Well twice a year the national Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, JDD, publishes a list of this country's 50 most popular "celebrities". The inverted commas are there to stress how broad a term that is - encompassing figures from the world of sports, entertainment and heaven help us, politics.
Twice a year perhaps, not because there's that much difference between the two polls, but it sure does fill a few column inches, sets tongues a-wagging and provides some simple filler fodder for television and radio news bulletin, when there's not much else about.
And once again - just as he was last December - it's former tennis ace-turned singer and musician Yannick Noah, who is this country's most popular person.
Now you might not initially give two hoots about who the French consider to be their favourite person. But hang about a moment, because in a sense it reveals quite a lot about the country, the people and the way they think, if for nothing more than the sheer diversity of the people listed.
Noah's father was a professional footballer for the Cameroon and his mother the daughter of a French poet.
It was his tennis career that first put him on the map, winning the French Open at Roland Garros back in 1983, endearing him to many in France by bringing pride to the nation as a Frenchman winning on home turf (or better said clay). He twice steered the French team as captain to victory in the Davis Cup and in the 1990s reinvented himself as a musician and singer with the first in a string of hit albums and singles.
Twice married with five children - one of whom, Joakim plays for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA - Noah perhaps represents much of what the French love about their "stars". He is an individual who has succeeded in more than one sphere and is not afraid to speak his mind.
He has been an outspoken defender of the rights of immigrants, humanitarian causes and the environment as well as being politically engaged and critical of the centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement UMP) party.
In last year's presidential election he openly supported the Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal, and told the media he would be "profoundly disappointed" if Nicolas Sarkozy were to win.
Box office hit
Figuring for the first time in the poll as the country's second most popular figure is the actor, comedian and director Dany Boon.
Again another multi-talented person (seemingly a French speciality as many stars shine in more than one field) Boon's latest film, Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, became the country's largest grossing domestic box office hit ever when it was released in February this year, attracting more than 20 million cinema goers.
Again that says a lot about the French, who are not exactly renowned for being able to laugh at themselves. The film illustrates with a great deal of humour, the differences between those living in the "cold, wet north" and their virtually impenetrable dialect with those from the "hot, sunny south" of the country.
It's not the French laughing "at" those from the north (where Boon was born and brought up) but "with" them, challenging the established clichés and prejudices.
Of course it's a formula guaranteed to work abroad. The rights have already been sold to Italy. And in the United States, look out for actor Will Smith to Hollywood-it up.
Zizou, the environmentalist and the top woman
Retired football international, and arguably one of the world's greatest players ever, Zinedine Zidane, ranks third in the new poll.
Whatever he may have done during the closing minutes of the 2006 World Cup final in Germany, "Zizou", as he is affectionately known here, remains an idol for many of the country's youth and a favourite among the French in general and has held the top spot several times over the years.
At number 4 in the rankings is a man probably not too well known outside of France, - the environmentalist, ecologist and TV presenter, Nicolas Hulot.
Against all odds perhaps, he somehow managed to get politicians in last year's presidential elections to sign a pledge saying they would make environmental issues an essential element in any of their policy decisions should they be elected.
Rounding out the top five is the first woman - a perennial favourite in this country, in the shape of the diminutive, Mimie Mathy - star of a popular television series, comdienne, singer and all-round entertainer.
In the 20 years that the poll has been going, only five different people have occupied the number one slot, proving perhaps that once the French take someone to their hearts, they're unwilling and unlikely to drop them.
And none of the most revered five has been Posh 'n Becks or Brangelina types figures.
Topping the list for more than a decade were two men. Either the French naval office, explorer, ecologist, fimaker, scientist, photographer - you name it he seems to have done it - the late Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Or L'Abbé Pierre.
In fact when the newspaper decided to commission the "top of the tops" so-to-speak, it was L'Abbé Pierre who came out ahead - just.
And few in this country will forget the tributes paid to him last year when he died at the age of 94.
During his life, the Catholic priest (born Henri Grouès) was not only a member of the French resistance in the Second World War, but a member of parliament, a champion of the poor, the homeless and of refugees.
In 1949 he founded the Emmaus charity here in France, a concept for providing accommodation and employment for otherwise homeless people and "recycling" a number of what might otherwise be considered "useless" products.
In France, if you have a table for example that you no longer need, don't throw it out, but donate it to Emmaus instead, they'll sell it on and put the money to good use.
L'Abbé Pierre was, and still is, the "voice and the conscience" of the poor for many here in France.
The only other three French (men - as a woman has yet make the number one slot) to top the poll have all been sportsmen. As well as Noah and Zizou of course, there has been multi world and Olympic judo champion, David Douillet.
Best of the rest
Among other notable names that might strike a chord outside of France in this latest Top 50 is the recently sacked prime time news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Avoir, PPDA (15).
He still remains popular in spite of what his former employer TF1 might think. PPDA's replacement in the autumn, the golden girl of television news, Laurence Ferrari (48), makes her first appearance in the top 50.
Among politicians, it's Ingrid Betancourt (21) , much in the headlines after her release last month by FARC and also making her first appearance in the list, who is the highest placed, well ahead of Sarkozy (44) and Royal (49).
In between the two "finalists" for last year's French presidential race is another face from the world of (French) politics, the 34-year-old leader and spokesman of the far left, Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, Olivier Besancenot (45). Now that certainly speaks volumes about how the French view their politicians.
And squeezing in to the top 50 for the very first time is Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, officially defined in the poll as a "singer"
And here we go! - Ask a Frenchman‘s fourth incarnation is about to start… right now! Now this is on this blog: David + World that everything will happen: As you will...