Hearing to episode 3 of Stephen Fry's podcast Great Leap Years, he describes this very prestigious French prize for scientist of 19th century called the Volta prize (le prix Volta in French). The recipients include Humphry Davy and Graham Bell, for example.
Wikipedia article is very short, is an incomplete list and has some broken links. I would like to find a full list of recipients, do you know where I may find something like that? I tried to make search in French but I didn't find more than the Wiki article.