French Baby Names: Les fleurs
French names inspired by flowers combine two of the loveliest trends in baby names today. Some of these French flower names may surprise you.
Fleur. Let’s start with the most obvious name on this list. The French word for flower has been commonly used as a name since the 70s. This feminine, free-spirited name sounds both pretty and elegant; its meaning and sweet simplicity are what makes it so appealing.
Anémone is a floral name that relates to the ancient Greek myth of the love story of Aphrodite and Adonis, in which the goddess transforms her wounded lover’s blood into a flower, the crimson anemone, whose delicate blooms are blown open by the wind, accounting for its other name, windflower. With their watercolor-like petals, anemones are one of the daintiest spring flowers and would make a charming name for a baby girl.
Daphné is a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “laurel tree.” In Greek mythology, Daphne was a nymph who was saved from an over-amorous Apollo by her father, a river god, transforming her into a laurel tree. Another mythological choice, with a touch of femininity and sophistication. Sans the accent, Daphne is currently #385 in the US, 157 on Nameberry.
Garance, the French name for the madder flower, is almost unknown to English speakers. But this botanical name has been trending in France recently, reaching the Top 200. Garance is a small, rounded flower inspiring the color “garance (or madder) red,” a very deep, intense shade used for French army uniforms during the Franco-Prussian War and the beginning of World War I. Garance is a lovely name – classic but unusual, strong and spunky.
Reine. In French, the reine-des-prés is is a wildflower commonly known as meadowsweet in English. As a baby name (reine literally means queen) it wasn’t that rare in the first half of the 20th century. Reine is a feminine and sophisticated name, a beautiful choice for parents who want to unique-name their babies.
Marguerite is a girl’s name of French origin, from Margaret, meaning “pearl”. Marguerite is a classic French name of a variety of daisy. Chic again in Paris, it is a melodic and colorful baby name that recently has come back as a favorite for nature-loving parents. Far from unknown in the US, it is currently #473 on Nameberry.
Rose, one of the old-time sweet-smelling flower names, has had a remarkable revival in France as well. Regarded as the Queen of all Flowers, Rose packs a lot of personality and impact into that one syllable. Often used as a middle name, Scarlett Johansson used it as her daughter’s first.
Rosalie refers back to the Rosalia festivals, the annual Roman ceremony of hanging garlands of roses on burial sites. Santa Rosalia is the name of a 12th-century Sicilian saint and is particularly dear to the people of Palermo. It’s now #128 on Nameberry.
Ambroise. In ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (meaning “belonging to the immortals”) was considered the food of the Olympian gods, thought to bring long life and immortality to anyone who consumed it. This poetic masculine name also recalls a plant with showy purple-veined white flowers. About 150 little Ambroises are born each year in France.
Saul(e) is the French word for willow tree. This botanical name is an ancient appellation of Hebrew origin meaning “prayed for.” Willows are beautiful and graceful trees associated with the moon and believed to possess magical powers. In recent years, this earthy, nature name has started to grow in popularity and is a perfect alternative to the classic Paul.
Florestanis a French name that pulls inspiration from the Latin florets, meaning “a garden of flowers” and is extremely rare, with only 20 attributions each year. It is not an invented name though: Florestan I was Prince of Monaco between 1841 and 1856.
Anicet. The etymology of this old name is unclear. It either comes from the Greek aniketos, meaning “invincible,” or from the Latin anicetum, “anise”. Green anise is a herbaceous plant that grows spontaneously in the Middle East where its leaves and seeds have been used since ancient times to flavor dishes and drinks. An Anicet was Bishop of Rome (and therefore Pope) in the second century. Nowadays, it is a rare name that is given to fewer than 20 French babies each year.
Hyacinthe has its roots in the Greek huakinthos, a term that first referred to a gem of violet-blue color (amethyst or sapphire), then to the bulbous, fragrant flowering plant. There definitely is a male-to-female name drift phenomenon with Hyacinthe: it started as boy name, shifted over time to become more feminine and is now considered unisex.
Ferréol derives from the Latin ferrum, meaning “iron,” and ferreola__, a grape variety and the name of a wine. Ferréol was borne by a number of saints, including the patron saint of the town of Besançon, in eastern France. An under-the-radar name waiting to be unearthed.
Florimond is composed of two Latin words, flos and mons, that can be translated as “flowery mount.” In the early 20th century, an average of 40 little boys named Florimond were born each year… but this pretty name has since fallen into disuse.
Lupin is an unusual flower name with roots in Old French, from the Latin lupines, meaning “wolf”. Lupines are beautiful plants that delight gardeners with their candy-colored flowers. This lovely moniker is both sweet and strong and is more than worth considering adding to your list of possibilities for little boy’s names.