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These French Baby Names Are Cooler Than You

These French Baby Names Are Cooler Than You

You know when you see a child (or a picture of one) and think, “Dang, that kid is cooler than I’ll ever be”? That’s how we feel when we hear a lot of the top baby names in France.

I mean, imagine having a playdate with little Capucine or Timéo. You just know they’ll turn up with strong style choices, creative game ideas, and snacks that make you drool (but that your kid probably won't eat).

If you want a head-turningly cool name with international appeal, looking at what’s hot with French parents is a great place to start. Many of the most popular French names are barely known in the States, or else they’re in style limbo. Imagining them on all those chic bébés might just make you see them in a new light.

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Top Baby Names in France 2020

The most popular names in France include lyrical vintage gems and sleek modern favorites. Louise, Alice, Louis and Jules are classic names that were popular in the early twentieth century, slipped out of style and have now been revived. Meanwhile, short multinational names like Mia, Lina, Léo and Hugo have only taken off in the last thirty years, in France and many other European countries.

Other stand-outs in the Top 10 are angelic Gabriel and Raphaël for boys, and jewel names Jade and Ambre for girls.

These were the Top 10 names in France in 2020 (you can read the full Top 100 here).

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Ancient, Romantic French Names

A big trend among French parents is reviving names from the past, whether from classical Greece and Rome, like Léandre and Auguste, or medieval romance, like Héloïse. These are often long, elaborate, and distinctly from the French language, although latinate versions like Alma and Clara have also become popular recently.

All the following names are in France’s Top 100, but are rarer — if not completely unknown — for English speakers.

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Cool Saintly and Biblical French Names

Saints have traditionally played an important role in French culture, and most French baby name books include a name day for every entry. They provide plenty of inspiration: popular saintly options include ancient Marin (as in the micro-country San Marino) and zippy modern Zélie, who was canonized in 2015.

Just like in other countries, previously neglected biblical names are also on the rise. Sure, well-known favorites like Marie and Paul are still popular, but we’re excited to see alternatives like Ismaël and Mathis rising — and you don’t have to be religious to use them.

Here are some of the most stylish French biblical and saints’ names, all in the Top 100.

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Unique Popular French Names

France’s baby name charts show influence from diverse languages and cultures, including Arabic (especially North Africa), Italian, Persian, Slavic, Breton, and a few that are a mystery: no one is quite sure about the origins of Ilyan and Sohan.

There are also some standout nicknames that deserve more use outside France, like Lilou and Emy, word names like Victoire (meaning victory, so the French answer to Victoria), and stylish surnames like Malone and Marceau.

These are some of the most intriguing and unique names in France’s Top 100.

Got a name story to tell? If you'd like to write about your personal experience with your own name, your child's name, names in your family or your culture, we'd love to consider your story for publication on Nameberry. Email us a sentence or two about your idea at clare@nameberry.com

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or Scoop.it, or reach her at clare@nameberry.com

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