French baby names offer a rich source of inspiration for new parents as these names sound elegant and chic. While there is plenty of cultural overlap, both the US and France have a whole bunch of little girls named Emma. Now, there some different attitudes towards certain names that you find in France today but scarcely hear in the US. Thanks to the country’s long history tied to the Catholic church, baby names in France were deeply influenced by the names of saints and other religious figures until the 1960s. Today, names are much more varied and reflect a more diverse population.
We decided to take a look into the most popular names around France to get a better understanding of which names are favorites there and what appellations American parents might want to adopt. While quintessential French names like Charlotte are very commonplace in the US, others like Manon have never crossed the pond and we would like to shine a spotlight on names like it to broaden your baby naming horizons. Here are 25 popular yet unique names for baby girls that French parents love!
Léa Hélène Seydoux is a French actor who has been lighting up screens in recent years. Her name, Léa is the beautiful, French preferred form of Leah. It’s the eighth most popular name for baby girls in France today. Léa has Hebrew origins and means “weary.”
Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago in the US, then faded into obscurity. Thankfully, this name is making a comeback in the US. Not just in France, but across Europe, Alma has become one of the hottest baby names for girls. We are thrilled about it! Alma has Latin origins and means “nurturing.”
Manon is currently the fourth most popular name in France and number nine in Belgium. Manon is an endearing French pet name for Marie or Marianne that feels equally exotic and matter-of-fact. This amazing name shares its meaning with Marie, “bitter.”
Inès is the French form of Agnes that can trace its origins back to ancient Greece. Inès means “pure.” This perennial French favorite carries vintage appeal as it has traditionally referred to Saint Inès a martyr from Rome.
Camille was the 22nd most popular name in France last year. This French favorite is simply another form of Camilla, an appellation that means “young ceremonial attendant.” In France, Camille is viewed as a gender-neutral option, but in the US, it is probably best suited for baby girls (but, do you). This name has been popular in the US for decades and remains in the top 500 most popular baby names today.
A top ten pick in France and a recently discovered treasure in the US, Mila has enjoyed a meteoric rise in American where it now is a top 20 name. Mila has Russian and Slavic roots as a pet form of Ludmila, Milena, and Milica. Mila means “gracious.”
Pronounced just like Jean in the English-speaking world, but as the more exotic zhahn in France, Jeanne was once a popular choice in the US but its favor faded in the 1980s. It’s still a top ten pick in France today. Jeanne is simply the French form of Jean, a name that means “God is gracious.”
A French Provençal form of Anna, Anaïs has proven a top pick for French parents since the late 18th century. Today, the name is the 59th most popular choice for baby girls. Anaïs has Hebrew origins that mean “grace.” However, the name could also be a Persian import from the name Anahita, a fertility goddess.
Equally popular as Anaïs in France is the classic, Théa comes from Greek tradition and means “goddess.” Thea, without the accent, is a popular option today in the US. However, you do not often encounter the French pronunciation, TAY-ah, which we urge new parents to try.
You never hear the name Ninon in the US which is a shame! Ninon is a pet form of Anna or Nina and it rhymes with mignon. We adore this adorable name that means “grace.” Anne “Ninon” de Lenclos was a famous and clever 17th-century socialite who preferred to go by this name.
Solange Knowles has brought the name Solange attention and garnered a fabulous reputation for this moniker in the US. This very French name means “solemn” as it refers to a patron saint of rain. This name has yet to take off in the US but we foresee that changing in the years to come.
Faustine was given to just five baby girls in the US last year. In France, it is a top 100 choice for new parents today. The name has Latin origins and is a form of Faust which means “fortunate one.” An offbeat choice in the US, this sophisticated name would be an unusual and bold appellation.
A highly unusual name in the US that most Americans have likely never heard is Isaure, a Greek name that belonged to an ancient country that is all but forgotten today. The name is regionally celebrated in Toulouse as it belonged to Clémence Isaure a legendary medieval figure. This name means “from Isauria.”
Victoire is the preferred French form of Victoria and it is a top 50 pick for baby girls there. However, it has never gained traction in the US. Victoire, like Victoria, means “victory.” If you are looking for a name with plenty of French flare but will not be too exotic, this could be the perfect option for your little girl.
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Margaux is the very French form of Margaret and you can spell it Margot and Margo as well. Margaux is the favorite choice among new parents in France with this name appearing in the top 50 last year and many years before it. Margaux simply means “pearl.”
Yuna is a curious form of Juno, the goddess who gives us the name for the month June. Yuna is not just popular in France it is also a hit in Germany and the Netherlands. While June is a top 500 pick for baby girls in the US today, this form is almost never heard. We would love to encounter this baby name for girls more often!
Alba is a quirky French name that was once popular in the US until the 1920s. Albane, the French form of this name, has Latin origins that mean “white.” Albane is associated with the Alps where it is the name of a region there called Albanais. However, this name can be heard all around France today.
Allia is the French preferred form of Aliyah, a name with Hebrew origins that means “exalted.” While the names Aaliyah and Aliyah are both popular in the US, it is hard to come by the Allia spelling here.
A top 50 name in France, Romy has never been broadly favored in the US. The name has both French and German origins and it means “a Roman.” Director Sofia Coppola chose this name for her daughter born in 2006. Follow her lead and go with this romantic and playful name.
Completely unknown to most English speakers, Garance is a botanical and color name that means “deep red.” The name has emerged as one of France’s most popular for baby girls landing in the top 200 last year. The plant, Rubia tinctorum or rose madder, is associated with this luscious, red name.
Esmé comes from the past participle of the Old French verb esmer, meaning “to esteem” or “to love.” You can spell it with or without the accent. The name was originally a name used primarily by men but today, it is almost exclusively given to baby girls. The same is true in the US when in 2010, the name landed in the US top 1000 for baby girls.
Lise is typically considered a Danish diminutive form of Elizabeth but it was the 69th most popular name for girls in France last year. Lise appeared in the US top 1000 for a decade from 1952 to 1962. We are sad that this casual and cute name has not made a comeback here. In the US, the name is most commonly associated with the name Annalise, but it belongs to Elizabeth in France, a name meaning “pledged to God.”
Aîcha is a fun French spelling of the Arabic name we most commonly spell Aisha. Aisha was Muhammad’s favorite wife, making this lovely name and its myriad variations hugely popular around the world. The name entered the French lexicon after the French colonized Algeria in the 19th century. Aîcha means “living” and “prosperous.”
Louise is a very French name and a form of Louis, a French noble name. Today, Louise is a popular choice among Parisian parents who find the name chic and stylish over fussy Elouise. Louise was one of America’s favorite names too until the 1940s when it began to decline in favor. Today, it’s one the rise again here! Louise means “renowned warrior.”
Léonie is the name Leona said with a French accent. While it is indeed a super French name it can trace its origins to Latin origins which mean “lion.” Léonie was the 29th most popular baby name for girls in France last year. It sounds so effortlessly cute, we would love to find it in the US. It has never appeared as a top 1000 name here.
There you go! Don’t you just love these stylish French baby names for girls? We hope you feel inspired by what French parents are choosing for their daughters these days and will consider one of these names for your baby girl.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Léa
- 2 24. Alma
- 3 23. Manon
- 4 22. Inès
- 5 21. Camille
- 6 20. Mila
- 7 19. Jeanne
- 8 18. Anaïs
- 9 17. Théa
- 10 16. Ninon
- 11 15. Solange
- 12 14. Faustine
- 13 13. Isaure
- 14 12. Victoire
- 15 11. Margaux
- 16 10. Yuna
- 17 9. Albane
- 18 8. Allia
- 19 7. Romy
- 20 6. Garance
- 21 5. Esme
- 22 4. Lise
- 23 3. Aîcha
- 24 2. Louise
- 25 1. Léonie
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