"Anthropology, feminism, of course, the resistance, deportation, the fight for social justice, the war in Algeria, but also so many books, so many research works ... It is not possible for me to evoke here every aspect of such a beautiful and important life," said Sarkozy.
Tillion was one of France's most-decorated people, being one of just five women to have been awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion d'honneur, one of France's highest distinctions.
Germany awarded her the title of "Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic" in 2004.
It was Tillion's wartime activities that first brought her wider public attention.
She was the founding member of the "Museum of Mankind" intellectual resistance network during the second world war.
She returned to Algeria after the war on behalf of the French government and played a key role in brokering truce between the two states.
Tillion was a celebrated author and her book "The Republic of Cousins: Women's Oppression in Mediterranean Society" in which she examined the social position of women across North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean shore, is regarded as one of her most prolific works.