French Baby Names: What’s next in Nice

December 26, 2012 Linda Rosenkrantz

In the past few weeks, you’ve seen our predictions for the rising names in the US, and Eleanor Nickerson’s forecast of what will be 2013’s most popular in the UK; today we look to France’s upcoming stars.

To check out the latest trends in French baby names, we turn once again to our go-to expert, Stéphanie Rapoport, creator of the popular site meilleurspré and author of L’Officiel des Prénoms .  For anyone conversant in French, the site is filled with interesting lists, charts and analysis on French baby names. But for those whose high school French is as shaky as mine, we asked Stéphanie to give us a recap en anglais.

When it comes to trends, one outstanding factor is that French baby names have never been shorter in length than they are today.  In 2013, I see few names having more than five letters and a profusion of names containing only three, such as Léa and Léo, Zoé and Tom.

Sounds are another major component of French naming style. Girl’s names ending in “a,” not surprisingly, dominate the scene, with nine of them holding the top twenty ranks. More interestingly, the “éo” sound is bouncing back for boys, thanks to Léo and the newcomer Timéo.

Baby names from the nineteenth century (Emma, Louise, Rose, Zoé, Louis, Jules, Léo) are riding a wave as they are internationally, and Old Testament names are on the rise, especially for the boys (Adam is new in France, Aaron, now in the Top 50, was unheard of before 2000, and both are rising fast. Nathan and Raphaël are relatively new and already in the Top 10.

Here now is our projection of what to expect in the Top 20 for 2013:

1. Emma 1. Nathan
2. Lola 2. Lucas
3. Chloé 3. Léo
4. Inès 4. Enzo
5. Léa 5. Louis
6. Jade 6. Gabriel
7. Manon 7. Jules
8. Louise 8. Timéo
9. Zoé 9. Hugo
10. Lilou 10. Arthur
11. Léna 11. Ethan
12. Sarah 12. Raphaël
13. Camille 13. Maël
14. Maëlys 14. Tom
15. Lina 15. Noah
16. Éva 16. Mathis
17. Louna 17. Théo
18. Clara 18. Adam
19. Alice 19. Nolan
20. Romane 20. Clément


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