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French Names You'll Want To Borrow Now

French Names You'll Want To Borrow Now

French names for babies are a rich source of inspiration, whether you need a name that works across cultures or just want something with a fresh, sophisticated sound.

So many of the names we love have French origins. Some, like Charlotte and Louis, are so well-established that it’s easy to forget they’re French at all, while recent favorites like Amelie and Beau are more self-conscious imports.

What are real French parents naming their children, though? The most popular names in France have some common ground with the rest of the world: Emma, Noah, and Lucas are Top 10 names in both France and the USA.

But you don’t have to scroll far down the list to find distinctively French names, which rank much lower in the States — like Louise and Raphael — or not at all, like Manon and Jules.

Every new year, French news sites are packed with reports on the most popular names in towns and cities across the country. We’ve scoured them to find the most up-to-date baby naming trends in France right now.

Top Baby Names in Paris

The most popular baby names in Paris in 2023 were Louise for girls, which ranked at Number 2 nationally, and Gabriel, which is also the top boy name in France.

Names ranking higher in Paris than the rest of the country include classics Jeanne and Gabrielle, Gaspard and Joseph. All are Top 10 Parisian names, but are below Number 20 nationwide. On the flip side, Jade and Ambre, Maël and Jules are much less popular in the capital than in the rest of the county, suggesting they may be about to take a downturn.

Also in the Top 10 in Paris, these classics rub shoulders with less traditional French names like Emma and Mohamed, Anna and Noah. These last two are now much more popular than their "native" forms, Anne and Noé.

Want to know more? Read the full list on Paris Data.

Popular Names Across France

What’s big in Paris is also popular elsewhere in the country, but a wide variety of other names crop up on local name charts.

Girl names that start with A are especially hot: many towns and regions have in their Top 10 names like Alba, Alma, Adèle, Agathe, and Alice. For boys, names that start with M are popular, including saintly Malo, classic Martin, and on-trend Mathéo. L is another popular initial for both sexes, in names such as Louis and Louise, Léo and Léon, Léna and Lina.

Flower and jewel names, like Ambre, Jade, Rose and Iris are in vogue for girls, as are names that end in A. These often outrank the traditional French forms: Anna, Julia, and Sofia are more popular now than Anne, Julie, and Sophie.

For boys, names with an -el ending, as in Gabriel, Raphaël, Maël and Naël, are a big trend. Vintage revivals are as popular in France as they are in the anglophone world: current favorites for French parents include Jules, Marius, and Jeanne.

Each area of the country has its own favorites. In Paris and other urban areas, names of Arabic origin like Mohamed, Rayan, and Nour are more popular, reflecting the larger Muslim communities there. In Nice, close to the Italian border, the top baby names are Giulia and Andrea. And in Bayonne, in the Basque country, Eneko and Oihan make the charts.

Here are 60+names that rank highly in towns and cities around France.

Popular French Girl Names

Popular French Boy Names

Vintage and Ancient French Names

The French press are always keen to point out the rarest, most vintage names registered, and we are here for it. Here are some names from yesteryear given to children around France this year, ranging from hundred-year revivals, through the middle ages, to ancient Greece and Rome.

Rare French Names

Here are some more of the less common names given to French babies — in some cases, only one — in 2023. They include words like Automne (Autumn, rarely used as a name in France), place names like Cézembre, an island, and even a kind of beetle (Méloé).

There are also new inventions, such as Malöane, a feminization of Malo, alongside pop culture-inspired names like Beckham. On which note, French parents love creative respellings just as much as anglophone ones, especially swapping I for Y, as in Elyas and Lyna.

If you're exploring French names for your baby, you may also want to consult our complete lists of French girl names, French boy names, and popular names in France.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com