25 Fabulous French Names



To finish off this month of love, I thought I'd share with you 25 fabulous French names! French names have been popular in American society for centuries. Some more familiar ones might be Michelle or Gabrielle. I wanted to put together a list of some that I thought felt fresh in America today. There are so many lovely French names for girls that would fit right into the American naming culture! French boys names were harder but I tried my best. I even included one unisex name. 



Girls Names




Amelie
#665 in the U.S. in 2016
#274 in France

Amelie is a charming French variation on Amelia. If you love Emma, Amelia, or Emily, but want something just a little bit different, Amelie would make a stunning choice. While it doesn't make the top 100 in the U.S. or France, it does make the top 100 in Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and England and Wales. 



Margot
#433 in the U.S. in 2016
#43 in France

Margot (pronounced MAR-go) is a French short form of Margaret. This spelling is by far more popular, but if you'd like you can leave off the final 't'. The Margo spelling is also valid, but not in the top 1000.



Odette
not currently ranked in the U.S. or France

If you want a rare French name, Odette with it's lovely O initial would be a great choice! Odette is most famous as the main character in the ballet Swan Lake. Odette would make a great alternative to Olivia!



Abrial
not ranked in the U.S. or France

If you are looking for a very rare French name, may I suggest Abrial! I love this gorgeous name! It has the same roots as the English April, Spanish Abril, and also Avril, another French name. The downside is that it could be mistaken for the very popular Abigail.



Sylvie
#957 in the U.S. in 2016
Not ranked in France

I must confess that I've been crushing on Sylvie lately! It doesn't have the "old-lady chic" that Sylvia has, but it has an even more alluring, exotic chic. Sylvie's first year in the top 1000 was 2016.



Isabeau
not ranked in the U.S. or France

This is one of my all-time favorite French names! It's a French variation of Isabel, which in turn is a variation of Elizabeth. This spunky name could be shortened to Izzy, Zibby, or even Beau! 



Rosalie
#254 in the U.S. in 2016
#336 in France

Rosalie is a lyrical little rose name that re-entered the top 1000 in 2009 after a long hiatus. It has only been in the top 100 one time--- in 1939! 



Giselle
#219 in the U.S. in 2016
not ranked in France

This name has a sleek, graceful feel that appeals to so many! It's definitely being used in the United States, but it's not super popular. It's a name that everyone will recognize, but not many people have. Gigi, Izzy, and Ellie are all great nickname options!



Lilou
not ranked in the U.S. in 2016
#12 in France

This petite form of Lilian is very popular in France, but rare here in America. Some might consider it too nickname-y to use on its own. Lilou would be  precious on its own or as a  nickname for many of the "Lil" names that are so popular today, from Lily, to Lillian, and Liliana. Lilou would also make a fun, bold middle name!



Seraphine
not ranked in the U.S. or France in 2016

Neither Seraphine or the more elaborate Seraphina are currently ranked in the United States. Seraphina is lovely, but there's something about the sleek, strong sound of Seraphine that draws me to it. Seraphina is projected to be in the top 1000 within the next few years, but I imagine that Seraphine will remain under the radar. It's also a great way to honor a Sarah!



Elodie
not currently ranked in the U.S. or France

Elodie is the French form of the ancient Germanic name Alodia (which is also stunning!). It's similar to Melody, which has been popular for years, and has the very current "el" beginning, yet Elodie remains underused in the United States. If you like uncommon names, Elodie might be a cute one to snatch up before she catches on with the masses!




Malou
not currently ranked in the U.S. or France

Malou was a name I'd never heard until recently. It's a contraction of Mary (bitterly wished for) and Louise (renowned warrior). It's very popular as a nickname in France and across Europe, as well as in the Philippines. It would be cute on its own, as a nickname, or as a bold middle! It would be a great choice for someone seeking to honor a Mary or Louise.




Anouk
not ranked in the U.S.
#176 in France

Anouk is a fun and different-sounding variation of Anna. If you're looking for a name that would be truly distinctive on a little girl in America today, Anouk is charming French option that fits the bill! In addition to being ranked #176 in France, it is also ranked #118 in the Netherlands, and #81 in Switzerland.



Lucille
#284 in the U.S.
not ranked in France

Lovely Lucille is making a comeback alongside Lucy, Lucia, and Luciana. Of all of these "Luc-" names, I think Lucille has the most "old-lady" chic. Lucy is the obvious nickname for Lucille, but Cilla and Lux are fun, different options as well!




Marie
#583 in the U.S.
#63 in France

Yes, Marie might have been the middle name of a generation (even me), but I still think it's a rather distinguished and unexpected choice for a little girl's first name. It's short, cute, and it has a lot of history behind it! If you want a timeless name that's not very popular right now, I would gladly suggest Marie, but only as a first name! (It does feel a little bit overdone in the middle name spot nowadays.) If it were me, I would pair Marie with a bold middle name.






Boys Names





Jules
not ranked in the U.S. in 2016
#2 in France

Jules may sound like a nickname for Julia or Julian, but in many places in Europe it stands on its own. It ranks in the top 10 in both France and Belgium. In France it is pronounced "ZHUYL", whereas in America it would be pronounced "jools". I think this name would be a handsome and distinctive choice in America today, a nice alternative to the popular Julian (#39), and softer than the Roman Julius (#340).



Anatole
not ranked in the U.S. in 2016
#204 in France

I read the name Anatole in a magazine over a decade ago and fell in love with it right then. I love the meaning sunrise! I think Anatole would stand out in a good way in today's naming culture in America, possibly as an alternative to the very popular Anthony (#30).




Marceau
not currently ranked in the U.S. or France

Marceau is a variation of Marcel, which in turn is a French version of the Latin Marcellus. I've seen Marceau used as a surname both in America and in France, but I think it would cross over nicely as a first name. It is similar to other names like Mark and Marcus, but with a softer 'c' sound and cool 'o' sound at the end.




Sylvain
not ranked in the U.S. or France in 2016

This very handsome name is one that has fascinated me since I discovered it on my husband's family tree. It's related to other names such as Sylvia, Sylvie, Silvanus, Sylvester, and even Silas. It would be a very cool choice for a outdoorsy family!




Audric
not ranked in the U.S. or France

Audric is a strong name that is underused, but has a familiar sound. It's a great choice if you're looking for something just a little bit different. It has a very positive meaning too!




Mathis
not ranked in the U.S. 
ranked #25 in France

Mathis is a French variation of Matthias. It is very popular in France and even more popular in Belgium (#12). Mathis is another name that is pronounced very differently in France than it would be in America. In France it would be pronounced "ma-TEES" but in America it would be pronounced like the surname "MATH-is". 




Blaise
#903
not ranked in France

It might surprise you to learn that Blaise is actually a French name. Blaze is currently the most popular spelling of this name, perhaps because it is also an English word. Blaise will always sound like a "cool guy" name.




Florian
not ranked in the U.S. 
#308 in France

Florian is a softer sounding boys name, which fits in with current naming trends. It also has the trendy "-ian" ending like Julian or Adrian. It's also a great choice to honor a Flora, Florence, Daisy, Rose, etc, but for a boy! 




Thierry
not ranked in the U.S. or France in 2016

Thierry is a name that I liked a lot more once I learned how it is actually pronounced ("ty-REE"). This name is super cool, and often discussed among people who like to discuss names, but unlikely to catch on because of pronunciation issues.




Unisex


Remy
#468 for boys, #716 for girls
not ranked in France

Remy is definitely masculine in France, but in the United States, it can go either way. It's used on its own, or as a nickname for the English name Remington (#254 for boys, #458 for girls). With the Remi spelling, it ranks #295 for girls in the U.S. This spunky name is definitely making its mark on our naming culture in America!





There are so many fabulous French names to choose from! Different French names come and go in popularity, but as a whole, they have certainly been a strong feature of the American naming culture for centuries. I'm confident that French names will continue to influence names in America for centuries to come!



What is your favorite French name? Tell me in the comments!






**As with other name origin articles, I'd like to point out that I'm an English speaking American, speaking to an audience that is primarily American and English-speaking. I write this with admiration and respect, but I do not speak French, so please forgive any errors. Also, as for the popularity rankings in France and other places in Europe, I can't read French so I relied on the website behindthename.com.**

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3 comments

  1. Hi - thanks for profiling French names! I live in France and it is interesting to see which names might appeal to Americans. Because I saw your note that you had to rely on a third site for popularity rankings, I just wanted to write that almost all of these are at least in the top couple hundreds -or higher!-, but that Isabeau is number 3000+ and I’ve not heard of Abrial. Also, I don’t know about the US, but Rémy is almost exclusively male here. (Just for fun, note that Vivien and Jean are also male and Laurence female!)

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