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Rare French Boy Names

Rare French Boy Names

Charming French boy names, far beyond old-fashioned Jean and Jacques, are just waiting to be discovered. Traditional names such as Charles and Louis are among the top French names for boys in the US today, although they also have a British feel from their connection to England’s Royal family. Rare French boy names that are uncommon in the US but rank in the France Top 100 include Maël, Gabin, Clément, Marceau, Sohan, Maxence, Malo, and Basile. Stylish French names that are rare in both the US and France include Amaury, Corentin, Sylvain, and Victorien.

Also included here are French word names, such as Vrai, and familiar French surnames, including Didier and Thoreau. If you’re searching for a French name for your son, a character, or yourself, these are some of our favorite options.

You may also want to check out our list of French girl names, our complete list of French names, and the latest count of Most Popular Names in France.

LucienHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Lucian
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Sophisticated Gallic version of Lucian, Lucien may appeal to parents attracted to this meaning over that of Lucas and Luke, which have a different root, and also looking for a more unusual choice.

BlaiseHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "to lisp, stammer"
  • Description:

    As modern as it sounds, Blaise is an ancient Christian martyr name. In Arthurian legend, Blaise is the name of Merlin the Magician's secretary. Its relation to the word and name Blaze gives it a fiery feel. Amanda Beard named her baby boy Blaise Ray.

YvesHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood"
  • Description:

    On paper, with its stylish ties to fashion legend Yves Saint-Laurent (born Henri), Yves looks great, but the pronunciation--EVE-- could lead to gender confusion. German variation Ivo might be cooler and clear up the issue.

RemiHeart

  • Origin:

    French, variation of Remy
  • Meaning:

    "oarsman"
  • Description:

    Makes the jaunty REMY a little more nicknamey and feminine.

PascalHeart

  • Origin:

    French; English
  • Meaning:

    "of the Passover; Easter"
  • Description:

    The French-accented Pascal was historically used for sons born at Easter, and can make an interesting choice for a boy with Gallic roots arriving around that holiday.

ClaudeHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lame; enclosure"
  • Description:

    Claude is a soft-spoken French name that conjures up the pastel colors of Monet and harmonies of Debussy. In France, it is used for girls as well, in fact in the Tracy Chevalier novel Lady and the Unicorn, the protagonist is a female Claude.

DarcyHeart

  • Origin:

    English from French, d'Arcy
  • Meaning:

    " from Arcy"
  • Description:

    Though Darcy is the ultimate Jane Austen hero name, it is rarely used for boys today though it's on the upswing for girls. A shame as it's a handsome, roguish kind of appellation that combines elements of French flair, aristocratic savoir faire, and a soft Irish brogue. And in terms of image, it's one of the quintessential English names for boys.

LaurentHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Lawrence
  • Meaning:

    "of Laurentium"
  • Description:

    A French accent makes almost everything sound better, especially when attached to a Twilight vampire. Laurent also has a high-style feel via designer Yves St-Laurent. Laurent de Brunhoff is the French author-illustrator who continued his father Jean's series of Babar books.

EtienneHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Stephen
  • Meaning:

    "garland, crown"
  • Description:

    It's the French Steve yet feels oh so much more debonair. Well-used and still a popular classic in French-speaking lands, but one of the many French names for boysunfamiliar to most English speakers, except maybe fashionistas who associate it with designer Etienne Aigner. A new way to honor Grandpa Steve?

ÉtienneHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Stephen, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "garland, crown"
  • Description:

    Appealingly gentle and romantic French classic--with a lot more charm than Steve.

LucHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "man from Lucania"
  • Description:

    Luc is the sleeker Gallic cousin of Luke, and if you want to know the difference between their pronunciations, just watch Kevin Kline's hilarious description in the film French Kiss. Peter Gabriel and Sean Patrick Thomas picked this version for their sons.

RainierHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wise army"
  • Description:

    European royal name, and to Americans a place-name evoking the majestic mountain in Washington state.

AnatoleHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "from the east, rising sun"
  • Description:

    Anatole is one of the unique boys' names with an unusual-ish feel but an uncertain provenance, with a meaning related to sunrise and thus to fire. While it's Greek in origin, it is associated more closely with France. Anatole Kuragin is a dashing, roguish prince in Tolstoy's War and Peace.

MaelHeart

  • Origin:

    French or Breton
  • Meaning:

    "chief or prince"
  • Description:

    The name of a fifth century Breton saint, Mael is a popular boys' name in contemporary France. Usually spelled with a diaeresis or umlaut -- two dots -- over the e, the pronunciation is almost like the English word mile, if drawn out slightly to two syllables. But this is not evident to English speakers from the spelling and is undoubtedly one reason why this name's popularity has not crossed the borders of its native country.

ValentinHeart

  • Origin:

    French, German, Russian, Czech, Scandinavian variation of Valentine
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Romantic name used throughout Europe, though sure to lead to pronunciation problems here. Though it's never been too widely used in the US, it's quite popular in Switzerland, France, Austria, and Romania.

NaelHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Nathanael, French
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Nael originated as a short form of names ending in -nael, such as Nathanael and Gwenael — a Breton name that was a minor hit in 1970s France. It has come to be more popular as an independent name, and currently ranks within France’s Top 50.

OlivierHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "olive tree"
  • Description:

    More and more frequently heard as the Gallic version of Oliver, Olivier could be seen as a tribute to the great British actor, Sir Laurence O.

CorentinHeart

  • Origin:

    French, Breton
  • Meaning:

    "tempest, hurricane"
  • Description:

    Corentin is an intriguing saint's name fashionable in France but virtually unknown here-- which you may consider a big plus. St. Corentin possessed a magical fish that regenerated itself each night, feeding himself and his lucky visitors in perpetuity.

AmauryHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Amalric
  • Meaning:

    "work power"
  • Description:

    Friendlier french form of ancient Germanic royal name Amalric or Emmerich.

CroixHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "cross"
  • Description:

    Pronounced "crwa", this unusual name was chosen by Cedric the Entertainer for his son.