Category: French baby names
By Clarice Bourgeois
Even though Brittany is a region with a strong identity, up until the 1980s, regional differences in baby names were not really apparent in France. Local name trends followed those of the rest of the country, with a large proportion of girls being called Marie, Sylvie, Nathalie and Stéphanie and boys named Jean, Philippe, Thomas or Julien. This is still largely the case today : Emma and Lola and Nathan and Enzo top Brittany’s name charts.
However, since the 90s, there’s been a strong regional identity upswing: local languages are taught at school, forgotten traditions are being revived. People now want to learn about their roots and keep them alive in any way possible, including naming their children.
Names travel among cultures further and faster now than ever before.
The British like such French names as Sophie and Chloe, while in France there’s a craze for British names such as Emma and Tom. And then there are those names used throughout Europe that are gaining some attention in the US: Cosima, Leonie, Roman.
By Clarice Bourgeois
Can you name the current most popular baby names in France? Are you thinking Jean? Jules? Margot or, perhaps, Louise? You would be wrong. For the past few years, Nathan, Enzo, Noah, Matteo and Timéo have been topping the boys’ names’ charts, while many little girls were named Inès, Clara and Emma.
There are several reasons that might explain the current French open-mindedness when it comes to naming their children.
Séverine – This beautiful and feminine name has long been popular in France, though it would seem unusual and rare for a British or American baby. It was the name of the last Bond girl. Last year, it was off the US popularity charts, though in France it ranked at #74 in 2000.
When Americans think about chic European names, they tend to imagine the exotic, the elaborate, the intriguingly complicated and foreign.
Yet when Europeans think about chic names, they often these days mean the short and simple and sometimes even the Anglo-Saxon: Tom, Emma, Lou. Think of them as the baby name equivalents of a perfectly-cut bob or little black dress, elegant and always in style.
Short, simple names that are chic and popular in France, the Netherlands, and indeed throughout Europe include: