Christopher Newman A rich, thirty-five year old American who goes to Europe in search of culture and in hopes of finding a suitable wife.
Madame de Bellegarde A proud and haughty member of the aristocracy. She is the person most opposed to Christopher Newman's marriage to Claire de Cintré.
Urbain de Bellegarde Her oldest son who is in charge of the family. Along with his mother, he is proud and haughty and terribly aware of the honor of the Bellegarde name.
Marquise de Bellegarde Urbain's wife who is more interested in enjoying life than she is in performing ritualistic and ceremonial duties.
Claire de Cintré The daughter whom Newman wishes to marry. She was previously married by an arranged marriage and was supposedly terribly unhappy with her very old husband.
Valentin de Bellegarde The youngest son who becomes a good friend to Newman and helps Newman in his suit for Claire de Cintré's hand.
Tom Tristram An American whom Newman knew during the war. He is now married and lives in Paris. He spends all his time in an American club.
Mrs. Tristram A sensitive and intelligent woman who, it is intimated, made a mistake in marrying Tom Tristram. She becomes a good friend and confidante to Newman and introduces him to Claire de Cintré.
Mrs. Bread A servant or housekeeper in the Bellegarde household. She takes a liking to Newman and assists him later in his attempt to win Claire de Cintré.
Mademoiselle Noémie Nioche A young flirt who uses her limited ability to paint in order to meet people to have liaisons with. She sells Newman a painting at much more than its worth.
Monsieur Nioche The father of Mlle. Noémie Nioche who depicts himself to Newman as a gentleman caught in a series of misfortunes. He tutors Newman in French, and helps his daughter secure patrons.
Lord Deepmere An English aristocrat who is distantly related to the Bellegardes. The Bellegardes would like Claire de Cintré to marry him.
The Reverend Mr. Babcock Newman's traveling companion for part of a journey through Europe. He found Newman lacking in the proper "moral reaction" to the culture of Europe.
Stanislas Kapp The person whom Valentin quarrels with and who fatally wounds Valentin in a duel.
Monsieur Grosjoyaux and Monsieur Ledoux Acquaintances of Valentin who accompany him to the dueling ground.
The Grand Duchess The theoretical leader of European society who likes Newman but whose allegiance must remain with the European aristocracy.