Early life and career
Guigou was born in Marrakesh, Morocco. After attending Sciences Po Aix and ENA, France's elite graduate school of public affairs, she worked in Jacques Delors' staff in 1982 before being hired by Hubert Védrine in François Mitterrand's government. She was appointed Secretary-General of the Interminsterial Committee on European Economical Matters in 1986 during the period of cohabitation.
- Bachelor of English Language, Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III
- Master of American Literature, Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III
- Master of Political Science, Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence
- 2 years university degree in Economy (DEUG), Aix-Marseille University
- Alumna of the École nationale d'administration (ENA), Promotion Simone Weil (1974).
Guigou first got a taste of front-line politics when she was appointed Minister of European Affairs (1990–1993), during the campaign on the Maastricht Treaty.
Member of the European Parliament, 1994–1997
Guigou was elected to the European Parliament in the 1994 elections. Throughout her time in parliament, she served as vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Institutional Affairs. During 1994–1995 she was member of the Tindemans group. Together with Elmar Brok, she represented the European Parliament in the negotiations that produced the Amsterdam Treaty.
Member of the Jospin government, 1997–2002
In 1997, Guigou was elected to the National Assembly in the Vaucluse département and entered incoming Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's cabinet, as Minister of Justice (1997–2000) and then as Minister of Employment (2000–2002).
During her time in office, Guigou co-sponsored several bills that became law. She co-sponsored a 1998 law which abrogated the requirement of "manifestation of will" for children born in France of foreign parents to gain citizenship.  Also in the late 1990s, she took action to grant investigating magsitrates more independence; at the same time, she gave the Justice Ministry the ability to intervene. 
Guigou also co-sponsored a 2000 law which articulated the French policy on presumption of innocence in media by prohibiting magazines and newspapers from publishing photographs of accused individuals wearing handcuffs or other scenes which may "jeopardise a victim's dignity".  It forbids the publication of photographs of survivors of violent crimes, including terrorist attacks, without their permission.  The law, which was unanimously supported by the Senate and later became known as the Guigou law, was openly opposed by leading publications such as Paris Match, which ignores the law.
In 2001, in response to announcements of layoffs ahead of the 2002 presidential elections, Guigou and Jospin developed a proposal that required large employers planning layoffs to double severance-pay packages and provide at least six months' job retraining to laid-off workers. 
Member of the National Assembly, 2002–present
Guigou failed to be elected Mayor of Avignon and, facing possible defeat against Marie-Josée Roig in her district, was nominated as a candidate for the National Assembly in 2002 in the heavily left-wing département of Seine-Saint-Denis. She was re-elected in 2007.
Guigou campaigned for the Yes side in the referendum on the 2005 Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.
From 2010 until 2011, Guigou served as vice-president of the National Assembly. In 2011, she was a supporter of Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry's presidential bid. However, she later helped Aubry’s competitor François Hollande to prepare to re-negotiate European fiscal rules. 
Guigou has been serving as chairwoman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2012. She is also a member of the Committee on European Affairs and the Working Group on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest. In addition to her committee assignments, she serves as vice-chairwoman of the French-Moroccan Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Shortly after the referendum on the status of Crimea held on March 16, 2014, Guigou and her counterparts of the Weimar Triangle parliaments – Norbert Röttgen of Germany and Grzegorz Schetyna of Poland – visited Kyiv to express their countries’ firm support of the territorial integrity and the European integration of Ukraine.  This was the first time that parliamentarians of the Weimar Triangle had ever made a joint trip to a third country. 
Minister of European Affairs: 1990–1993.
Keeper of the seals, Minister of Justice: 1997–2000.
Minister of Employment and Solidarity: 2000–2002.
Member of the European Parliament: 1994–1997 (Became minister in 1997, and elected in parliamentary elections).
Regional councillor of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur: Elected in 1992, reelected in 1998, resigned in 2001.
Deputy-mayor of Noisy-le-Sec: 2008-2010.
- Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, President (since 2014) 
- European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Member of the Council 
- Femmes d'Europe (Women of Europe), Founder
- Europartenaires, founding chairwoman and co-president (with Jean-Noël Jeanneney)
- Friends of Europe, Member of the Board of Trustees 
- Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen (IPEMED), Member of the Political Sponsorship Committee 
- Institut du Bosphore, Member of the Scientific Committee 
- Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), Member of the Board of Directors 
- Jacques Delors Institute, Member of the Board of Directors
- Trilateral Commission, Member of the European Group 
In May 2016, Guigou joined 16 French female politicians – including Christine Lagarde and Fleur Pellerin – in calling for an end to “immunity” for sexist male politicians in an open letter published in the Journal de Dimanche newspaper. The letter came after Denis Baupin, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, resigned over sexual harassment claims. 
Guigou is the spouse of Jean-Louis Guigou, a professor of economics, former technical adviser to Michel Rocard and civil servant. They have one child.