A look at two French cat breeds

The Chartreux is a French cat breed

While there are more than 90 cat breeds recorded around the world, only two of them are 100% French: the Chartreux and the Birman. In this article, we will take a closer look at them.


With its recognizable blue-gray coat and gorgeous gold eyes, the Chartreux is one of the most charming and popular cat breeds.

The origins of the Chartreux’s ancestors trace back to the Middle Ages in present-day Syria. They were then brought to France by merchants. There are traces of the breed at the Grande Chartreuse, which is a monastery not far from the French city, Grenoble. The monks at the Grande Chartreuse specialized in the elixir of plants known today as the Elixir de la Grande Chartreuse (which can be translated as “Elixir of the Grande Chartreuse”). These monks most likely appreciated the calm and discreet personality of this cat breed. However, it is believed that they were more interested in exploiting the breed’s woolly coat.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the L├ęger sisters found a clowder of Chartreux on the island Belle-Ile-en-Mer. They began to take care of them to ensure their survival. Therefore, in the 1930s, the first criteria of the breed were established. Most of today’s Chartreux can trace their origins back to these cats.

Although the Chartreux went through a complicated period during the Second World War, the breed was nevertheless exported throughout Europe and to the United States. It has, thus, became one of the most popular French cat breeds around the world. The Chartreux is considered a purely French cat.

Did you know? General Charles de Gaulle, who served as President of France during the mid-20th century, owned a Chartreux named Gris-Gris, which he was particularly fond of.

Recognizable and absolutely adorable

This cat breed has a powerful physique and adapts well to outdoor life. It is very muscular with a broad chest and powerful legs. The rounded cheeks of the Chartreux are much more developed in the male than in the female. This characteristic helps to differentiate them. Regarding the size of the Chartreux, it measures around 30 cm (around 11.8 in). The females typically weigh around 3 to 5 kg (around 6.5 to 11 lbs) and the males can weigh up to 7 kg (around 15 lbs).

The coat of the Chartreux is slightly wooly, meaning that it is short, thick, and waterproof. This allows the breed to better adapt itself to cold and humid regions. In addition, its coat must be glossy and shiny. No exceptions are allowed for the breed’s coat; it must be blue-gray and uniform. If there are any spots of color, it is excluded. The Chartreux’s skin is the same color as its coat.

The Chartreux’s large expressive eyes are very specific to the breed. They give this cat a friendly and attentive expression. Their color varies from a golden yellow to a copper color. The Russian Blue, on the other hand, has the green eyes. The ears are quite high on the head and slightly rounded at the end. The tail is of average size, broader at the beginning and thinner near the end.

A Chartreux with a blue background
The Chartreux is a rather stocky and muscular cat with a broad chest and powerful legs.

The personality of the Chartreux

This cat breed is very intelligent, lively, and sociable. It is also independent and needs quiet time. However, the fact that it is independent does not mean that the Chartreux does not form strong bonds with its owners.

They love to play. When it comes to their behavior, make an effort to train the Chartreux well. This breed needs to know its limits and not overstep. The breed adapts well to families with children and other animals. With that being said, this French cat breed will always have a tendency to want to be in charge. Lastly, one of the best things about the Chartreux is that it is a very quiet cat that rarely meows.

The Chartreux at a glance

The Chartreux is the perfect cat breed for a family. However, its independence must be respected.

Birman French cat breed
The Birman is a French cat breed.


The Birman is the only other French cat breed, although its name suggests otherwise. This cat’s origins is a mystery! It is believed that in ancient times, a Burmese high priest owned a white cat named Sinh, with whom he worshipped a golden goddess with sapphire eyes.

One day during a violent attack, the cat saw that its owner was dying. The cat took the powers of the goddess to help save its master. Its eyes became blue, its coat golden, and its paws became white. Sinh repelled the attackers before dying of grief near its master.

On a more realisitc note, the Birman can trace its origin to the marriage of the Siamese and the Persian. The color comes from the Siamese and the coat comes from the Persian. Breeders in the South of France worked on the breed to establish the standards.

A charming French breed

The Birman is easily recognizable. One of the most important characteristics of the breed is its eyes, which must be as blue as possible! As for its body, it is long and muscular with a graceful look. Its nose is short and arched. When it comes to the ears, they are large, wide, and high. The cheeks are rounded. Its blue eyes are spread apart and slightly almond-shaped.

The Birman’s fur gives it an inimitable charm. It is semi-long and silky. The fur is short on the head and lengthens on the cheeks to form a ruff. The ruff is bigger for male Birman cats. The coat is even longer on the back and the flanks.

The Birman’s coat is colorpoint. It is creamy white and the legs, the muzzle, and the end of its tail are a different color. The accepted colors are seal point (dark brown), chocolate point (milk chocolate), blue point (blue gray), lilac point, red point (red) and cream point. Lastly, the breed’s paws must be white.

The personality of the Birman

The Birman is gentle, sociable, and affectionate. They enjoy living with children and other animals. With that being said, the Birman still needs time on its own. This breed is not fearful. We recommend that you microchip your Birman to prevent your cat from being stolen. This cat does not require much exercise, so it can live happily in an apartment. Just be sure to provide your cat with a play area where it can play and hide.

The Birman at a glance

This French cat breed is stunning, sweet, and affectionate. It is the perfect breed for a family.

While French cat breeds are not numerous, they are nevertheless fascinating. The Chartreux and the Birman are two very popular and charming French cat breeds.