Rare French Boy Names
Rare and uncommon French boy names, far beyond the traditional 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.
Origin:French form of Lucian
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.
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.
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.
Origin:French from Latin
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.
Origin:French variation of Lawrence
Meaning:"of Laurentium or bay laurel"
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.
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.
Origin:French variation of Stephen
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?
Origin:French, German, Russian, Czech, Scandinavian variation of Valentine
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.
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.
Origin:French variation of Theodoric
Meaning:"ruler of the people"
Description:Thierry, which is very popular in France, would make an interesting import; it's somewhat familiar through designer Thierry Mugler and international soccer star Thierry Henry. It almost sounds like Terry, but not quite.
Origin:French variation of Marcel
Description:Mime Marcel Marceau actually had two versions of the same name. Marcel, Marceau, Marcella, Marcus, Mark -- all are variation of the Roman mythological name Mars, the god of war.
Origin:French variation of Stephen, Greek
Description:Appealingly gentle and romantic French classic--with a lot more charm than Steve.
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.
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.
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.
Description:Malo, the name of an important sixth century Breton saint who founded St. Malo, the charming port town in Brittany -- is considered quite au courant in France right now, ranking firmly in the Top 100.
Description:Doesn't everything sound better with a French accent? Sylvain, the French variation of the Roman wood god's name, sounds somehow cooler and more sophisticated than Sylvan.
Origin:French and German form of Matthias or Matthew
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Very popular in France and Belgium, this name -- pronounced mat-tees, like the surname of the painter Matisse -- might make an appealing new way to say Matthew here.
Origin:French and Spanish, diminutive of Sebastien
Meaning:"person from ancient city of Sebastia"
Description:In this form, or as Sebastian or as Bas, Bastien is a fashionable Euro name with a possible future in America.
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.