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Tiago and Thibault: the latest French name trends

January 17, 2020 Clare Green

French baby names are a rich source of inspiration, whether you need a name that works in multiple languages or just want something with a fresh, sophisticated sound.

Every generation has its own favorite French names. Today, names like Margot, Sylvie and Beau are in vogue for English speakers, while past generations loved Michelle, Annette and Louis.

But what names are parents using on the ground in France? The official statistics for the top names in France 2018 were released last summer, but we can get an even more up-to-date glimpse into the names in use right now. At the start of each year, the news is full of local stats and trends from cities across France, with some places even sharing every name registered in the last year.

If you want to see for yourself, go to French Google news and search for “prenoms 2019”…and be prepared to lose a few hours!

Meanwhile, here are the hottest names and trends from our favorite hexagonal country.

National favorites

There’s no quelle surprise that the top names nationally also appear on local lists. At the top of the rankings in many towns were angelic Gabriel and Raphaël, classic Rose, Alice and Jules, international Emma and Adam, and the L-gang: Louise and Louis, Léa and Léo, Lina and Lucas. Gemstone names Jade and Ambre, as well as being widely popular, were also the most-searched girls’ names on Google.fr last year.

One of the most popular unisex names is Camille. In the city of Angers, for instance, it was given to 16 boys and 15 girls in 2019. Russian-influenced Sacha and Sasha also appear among the top names for both boys and girls.

Having said that, there is also local variation. For example, in Avignon, which has a large Muslim population, Mohamed and Nour are Top 3 names.

Old is new again

Just as in other countries, many French parents love names with a classic or even vintage feel. Names in this style that were registered last year include:

Girls

Adèle, Anaïs, Célestine, Clémence, Eléonore, Faustine, Hortense, Jeanne, Margot, Mathilde

Boys

Antoine, Armand, Cyril, Emile, Gaspard, Léopold, Lucien, Marius, Maurice, Victor

Trendy endings

One of the most noticeable trends is girls’ names ending with A and boys’ names ending with O. Not traditionally French, these show the influence of other cultures on French naming style to create a cosmopolitan mix.

Popular A-ending girl names include Anna, Clélia, Julia, Lola, Louna, Mila, and Arya. Speaking of Game of Thrones, there was at least one Daenerys and Calissie (pronounced like Khaleesi) born in France last year.

The boy name to watch is Tiago. Its popularity is the result of several things coming together: Brazilian footballer Thiago Silva, who plays for a Paris team; a 2018 single by pop singer Kendji Girac; and a reality couple naming their son Tiago in 2018. Add in that cool O ending, and it’s no wonder it’s among the top names in several cities. Other popular O-ending names include Elio, Enzo, Hugo, Malo, Timéo and Théo.

English imports

There’s no denying that the English-speaking world has an impact on the French naming landscape. Some babies in 2019 got straightforward imports like Cayden and Miley, while others have English names adapted to French spelling, such as Cheldon (from Sheldon) and Wayatt (from Wyatt).

Just as English-speaking parents sometimes use French word names like Fleur and Boheme, so some French parents are inspired by English words. Birth registers in France last year included babies named April, Delight, Destiny, Fox, Joy, Success, Testimony and Winner.

Creative spellings

Just like in English, some names gather many alternative spellings, such as Emmy / Emmie / Emy / Emye / Aimy for girls, and Timéo / Thymeo / Tymého / Tyméo / Tymëo for boys. The most remarked-upon spelling trend is replacing I with Y, to create names like Amélya, Elyana, Gabryel, Lyvia, Mélyna and Thylian.

Daring double names

You may be familiar with traditional French double-barreled names like JeanPierre and MarieClaude. Nowadays, anything goes: the double names recorded last year show a vast creative mix of styles and cultures. They include:

AlexandreWyatt

Fidèle-Angelica

François-Frédéric

JuanMarcel

Léo-Paul

Linaëlle-Zohra

Mahalia-Rûmî

Mathéo-Darwin

PauletteJosiane

Pénélope-Siobhan

The best of the rest

Here are 60 more of our favorite names given to babies in France in 2019, 30 for girls and 30 for boys. They include word names, international influences, and a hefty sprinkling of names from literature and history.

Girls

Aliénor

Amour (“love”)

Apolline

Anaëlle

Aziliz

Bleuenn 

Bonheur (“joy”)

Capucine

Clotilde

Cyrielle

Domitille

Églantine

Ferielle

Garance 

Guénolé 

Héloïse 

Jacinthe

Jumiette

Lilou

Louane

Merveille (“miracle”)

Océane

Oxana

Perrine

Romane

Sixtine

Soline

Thécla 

Zélie

Zoéline

Boys

Achille

Arsène

Aubin

Augustin

Barthélémy 

Bastien 

Blaise

Brieuc

Clovis

Corentin

Elouan 

Florian

Gustave 

Ilan

Kenzo 

Kylian

Léandre

Louison

Lysande

Marceau

Octave

Pacôme

Socrate

Swann

Tancrède 

Thibault

Ulysse

Virgile

Yanis

Yves

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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